Chicago Cubs Lineup (9/9/19): Zobrist Leads Off, Hoerner at SS, Hendricks Pitching

Ben Zobrist leads off at second, followed by Kyle Schwarber in left, Nicholas Castellanos in right, and Anthony Rizzo at first. Then it’s Victor Caratini catching and Nico Hoerner making his MLB debut at short. Jason Heyward is in center and David Bote is at third to round things out.

Addison Russell is being checked out by Padres doctors to determine whether or not he needs to remain in MLB’s concussion protocol and we should know more about Javy Báez soon. Kris Bryant has a cortisone injection in his knee and has not been ruled out for Tuesday’s game. In other news, Adbert Alzolay has been optioned and James Norwood has joined the Cubs in San Diego.

They’ll be facing 24-year-old rookie Cal Quantrill for the second time and will need to do significantly better than in that first effort at Wrigley back in July. The righty dominated the Cubs over 5.2 innings, holding them to just two hits and striking out six while walking none. You may recall that he didn’t actually start that game, which was opened by Adrian Morejon, but Quantrill served as the “bulk” pitcher.

Paul’s kid, the eighth overall pick just three years ago, will be making the 16th start and 21st total appearance of his career as he continues to feel his way around the majors. Quantrill has transitioned from the rotation to the bullpen and back as the Padres look to bring him along and build his confidence, a plan that was working from late June to mid-August.

Since then, however, things have trended down a bit and the young hurler probably isn’t feeling like a world-beater after allowing 16 earned runs on 18 hits over his last two starts. He’s only struck out five men against four walks in that time, but the weirdest part may be that he gave up just one homer in each of those games. Opposing hitters have been all over his pitches, something that would be nice to see from the Cubs tonight.

You’d think a guy with a 95 mph fastball would be more of a strikeout pitcher, but Quantrill has notched more than five K’s only four this season. While he can definitely miss some bats with a repertoire headlined by a big sinker and four-seam, with a slider and change making up about 20% apiece, he lacks a real put-away offering.

The sinker is easily Quantrill’s best pitch and he’ll need to get ahead with it to make the secondaries work. His change has been downright bad at times this season, part of the reason left-handed hitters have hit him so well. Righties only have a paltry .512 OPS against him, but lefties are at .837 overall and .862 at Petco. Of note, Quantrill has walked only one of the 87 righties he’s faced at home this season.

Kyle Hendricks is on the bump for the visitors after being swapped for Jon Lester in what may have been an effort to give him a softer road landing. The SoCal native gets the chance to pitch close to home with a slightly friendlier matchup against a team he held to two runs on four hits when he last faced them.

The Cubs are going to have to provide a little more support for their starter than in that last one, the same game in which Quantrill shut them down. After losing three straight in Milwaukee and looking anything but lively in the process, the Cubs really need to win this late-night series in San Diego.

First pitch is set for 9:10pm CT on WGN and 670 The Score.

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