So this is what winning a game or two in September feels like? Here’s the Cubs lineup for the finale against the Twins (and Alec Mills’ follow-up to a no-hitter).
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
1. Ian Happ, CF
2. Kris Bryant, 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Willson Contreras, C
5. Kyle Schwarber, LF
6. Javy Baez, SS
7. Jason Heyward, RF
8. David Bote, DH
9. Nico Hoerner, 2B
Michael Pineda has made just three starts this season, because he was out serving an 60-game suspension for the use of a banned diuretic (which helps block the detection of other banned substances). He served 21 of those games last season and the rest here in 2020. Although, that wasn’t actually the only time he was suspended for something like this. Back in 2014, Pineda was ejected from a start and suspended for 10 games after the home plate umpire was alerted to pine tar on his neck (used for a better grip on the baseball) by Red Sox manager John Farrell.
As for his performance, Pineda has been an exactly split-neutral righty for his career, although he has faced 37 lefties and 36 righties this season, with lefties doing a HECK of a lot better than their counterparts: (.324 wOBA vs. .201 wOBA). Most of the Cubs don’t actually have that much experience against Pineda, aside from Cameron Maybin (5-17, 2B, BB, 4Ks), but they’ll all get a good look at him today.
As for the lineup, itself, the only real decisions today include David Bote at DH, which feels like the right call on most days, and Nico Hoerner at second base instead of Kipnis. Kipnis is likely going to be the starting second baseman in the playoffs, but more rest now is a good thing, particularly as he was dealing with some minor bumps and bruises earlier this month.
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ post closer to game time (7:15 CT).