It’s finally here, the last game of the season. Never would I have imagined 60 games could feel like 600, but nothing about 2020 makes sense. Well, except for the Cubs clinching their third NL Central title in five years and securing a No. 3 seed in the postseason. That’s why today’s lineup is a little interesting.
Billy Hamilton leads off in center, followed by Cam Maybin in right and Kyle Schwarber in left. Kris Bryant bats cleanup and will probably only get one or two plate appearances before he’s lifted, though Patrick Wisdom was DFA’d.
Willson Contreras Javy Báez is the DH after telling his skipper he wanted the extra ABs, Victor Caratini handles the catching duties, David Bote is at second, Jason Kipnis is at first, and Nico Hoerner mans short.
Adbert Alzolay is starting in place of José Quintana, who is expected to piggyback just to get a couple innings of work in this one. The young righty displayed a wicked slider to pair with his new two-seam during his last appearance, so watch for him to showcase those pitches again in this one. With nothing truly on the line, it’ll be interesting to see whether and how he’s able to execute.
The White Sox are sending Reynaldo López to the mound for the eighth time this season to make his second start against the Cubs. He doesn’t strike out many batters, walks more than he should, and gives up a lot of homers, so his 4.68 ERA is actually far better than his 6.71 FIP. All things considered, the Cubs have a chance to romp even without really trying.
The right-handed López has struggled mightily against righty batters, allowing a 1.012 OPS and very high .420 wOBA. He’s even worse at home, with a 1.082 OPS and .440 wOBA against righties, including four of the seven total homers he’s surrendered.
His mid-90’s heater is set off by a slider and changeup, but none of his pitches produce positive value and the Cubs should be able to get to him. Even though it’s meaningless in the grand scheme of things, ending the season with a W should be in the cards.
First pitch is set for 2:10pm CT on Marquee, NBC Sports Chicago, WGN 720, and 670 The Score. TBS will also carry the game for out-of-market viewers.
Javy's in for Willy at DH.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 27, 2020