Chicago Cubs Lineup: Rizzo Leads Off, La Stella at 3B, Quintana Pitching

Sorry, folks, today is not an #EveryBoteIn game. As much as I know you’ve all grown to love the rookie, Joe Maddon usually knows what he’s doing with the matchups. Putting Tommy La Stella at third, however, is not something I’ve every been comfortable with.

Anthony Rizzo is leading off, followed by Ben Zobrist at second and Jason Heyward in right. Javy Baez cleans up at short, Ian Happ handles the duties in center, and Kyle Schwarber is in left. Then you’ve got Victor Caratini catching and La Stella batting ninth at third base.

Addison Russell has been in a deep funk since early July and isn’t even putting up competitive at-bats, hence his absence from the lineup. Albert Almora Jr. has been similarly ineffective over the last few weeks, so holding both out against a pitcher who’s held righties to a .135/.233/.270 slash on the road is a good idea.

Jose Quintana has to be better than his last start, in which he laid an egg and threw way too many pitches right out of the gate against the Cardinals. That shouldn’t be a problem against an offensively challenged team like the Padres, but we saw last night that things don’t always work out the way we think they should.

On the mound for San Diego will former Cubs target Tyson Ross, who seems to have regained some of his form following thoracic outlet surgery that caused him to miss most of 2016 and ’17. Ross doesn’t have nearly the fastball velocity that he once did, though, and is now sitting around 92 instead of 95. He’s also abandoned his sinker almost entirely.

What the Cubs are going to see is a four-seam/slider mix with a cutter thrown in there about 15 percent of the time. Ross may use the occasional change, but he’ll often go several games between throwing it. He’ll give up a lot of hard contact in the air, so this might offer a nice opportunity to get on the board after last night’s weak offensive showing.

Ross’s MO is to throw early strikes and then retreat to the edges and employ that slider heavily, which means Cubs hitters would do well to hunt fastballs. If they’re unsuccessful with that, they can afford to work counts because Ross isn’t a big strike-thrower. He’s been murder on righties this year, so perhaps the left-handed hitters can break out the bats and live up to the .372 wOBA their counterparts have posted against Ross this season.

First pitch is at 1:20pm CT and can be seen on NBC Sports Chicago and MLB Network (out of market) or heard on 670 The Score.

Back to top button