Chicago Cubs Lineup (8/31/19): Rizzo’s Back, Caratini Catching, Hamels Pitching

Jason Heyward is back in the leadoff spot after a brief reprieve, followed by Nicholas Castellanos in right and Kris Bryant at third. Anthony Rizzo’s back, pun very much intended, as he makes his return to the lineup for the first time in a week. Javy Báez is at short, Kyle Schwarber is in left, Victor Caratini is catching, and Addison Russell is playing second base.

They’ll be trying for a threepeat performance against righty Zach Davies, who was on the mound for Kyle Schwarber Day in Milwaukee and turned around to give four earned with a pair of homers in his subsequent start The Cubs have jumped all over him in those games, something they haven’t been able to do that very frequently in the past. Davies is a soft-tosser with a sinker/changer combo that he uses to avoid barrels, but we’ve seen what can happen when he’s off.

The sinker (56.5%) and change (28.7%) make up nearly 90% of his total offerings, so it’s all about picking out the right pitch and doing damage. Or it could be about waiting him out if his control falters. Because of his general lack of a swing-and-miss pitch, hitters can afford to get into deep counts and see if they can find something to drive.

Between the way Davies has been pitching, the way the Cubs have hit him lately, and how the Brewers have been sleep walking, there’s no reason not to run this guy from the game early. Of course, we’ve also seen how Davies can limit the Cubs to one run while getting them to flail away at bad pitches for worse contact. But that won’t happen today.

Cole Hamels gets the nod for the home team as he comes off the paternity list following the adoption of daughter Harlow. The lefty will either be worn out from late-night feedings or he’ll be full of new-dad energy, so let’s hope it’s the latter because he’s looked like a schlub the last few times out. He did, however, shut the Brewers out over five innings in his first start back from the IL earlier this month.

First pitch is at 1:20pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago and 670 The Score.

Ed. note: The initial lineup posted had Caratini batting sixth and Schwarber seventh, but the Cubs have amended that.

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