The Cubs took care of business against the Reds last night and really have to do it just one more time against the Brewers this weekend. Win this series, and you’re feeling good about the final stretch of the year. Here’s the lineup for Game 1 against Brandon Woodruff and Milwaukee.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
1. Ian Happ, CF
2. Kris Bryant, 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Willson Contreras, C
5. Kyle Schwarber, LF
6. David Bote, 2B
7. Jason Heyward, RF
8. Victor Caratini, DH
9. Nico Hoerner, SS
After digging into Willson Contreras’ excellent game (and season) earlier today, I’m happy to see him up in the lineup, batting cleanup, even if it is at least equally due to a much-needed breather for Javier Baez (0-5, 3Ks last night), who continues to struggle at the plate.
For the season, Baez is slashing .196/.235/.357 (52 wRC+) with a 33.5% strikeout rate. He looks lost in every single plate appearance, and he doesn’t have the best history against Brandon Woodruff (1-6, 3Ks, BB). An off-day to clear his head was exactly what he needed, especially with a lefty coming to the mound tomorrow.
In his place, Nico Hoerner starts at shortstop, which opens up second base for David Bote. And while I’m perfectly happy to see Bote there, this just further confirms my suspicion that something is clearly wrong with Jason Kipnis, who hasn’t started at second base since the end of the Cardinals series, despite facing plenty of right-handed pitchers in the meantime. It’s no longer just a rest, something is up.
Other than that, everyone is right where you expect them to be, and as usual, look for your full Pre-Gamin’ post closer to game time (7:10 CT).