The Cubs have been playing like hot garbage lately and they desperately need a win to maintain their division lead. A playoff spot is almost assured, what with the Cardinals losing to the Brewers, but the defending champs don’t want to back into the postseason. There’s really not much to say about this one, just that the Cubs need to remember how to hit.
Daniel Murphy is leading off at second base, Javy Baez follows at short, and Anthony Rizzo bats third. Jason Heyward cleans up in center, Ian Happ is in right, Kyle Schwarber is in left, Victor Caratini catches, and David Bote plays third.
Nothing says “playoff race” like Heyward batting cleanup, unless it’s batting the fleet-footed El Mago behind the lead-footed Murphy. Fun times. Which means the Cubs will probably make it work.
Jose Quintana had a forgettable outing against his old mates on the other side of town, but he’s played the roll of stopper a couple times before. The Cubs will need him to do it again tonight against the Pirates, especially if the offense is content to score one run.
Ivan Nova isn’t a scary presence on the mound, though he has more or less dominated the Cubs in three starts this season. The 31-year-old righty is 2-1 with only five earned runs allowed, though he has given up three dingers in that stretch. That’s Nova’s Kryptonite, as he’s got a bad case of whiplash from watching 25 homers rocket over his head.
I try to avoid touting “must-win” games, but this sure feels like one in which the Cubs need to get rolling early and run away with. No offensive snoozer or grinding extra-innings affair, they would do well to keep Milwaukee at bay and boost their own confidence.
First pitch is at 7:05pm CT on CSN Chicago and 670 The Score.
Tonight’s #Cubs lineup.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 26, 2018