Ben Zobrist leads off at second, Kyle Schwarber is in left, Nicholas Castellanos is in right, and Anthony Rizzo cleans up at first. Willson Contreras is back behind the plate, Jason Heyward is in center, Addison Russell plays short, and David Bote spells Kris Bryant at third.
Bryant went to Maddon yesterday to say that his knee was still barking and the manager admitted to the media that it’s impacting every aspect of the All-Star’s game. This situation isn’t going away, so the Cubs are just going to have to manage it with treatment and proper rest moving forward.
The’re facing 26-year-old righty Adrian Houser, who’s making his 14th start of the season. He’s appeared in four previous games against the Cubs, three in relief with one start, and has racked up eight strikeouts with two walks. He’s allowed three home runs in those outings, to Bryant back in May and to Heyward and Schwarber during his August start.
Houser hasn’t pitched nearly as well as a starter, perhaps because he doesn’t have the stamina to keep throwing his mid-90’s fastball and sinker with the same zip as the game wears on. The sinker is easily his best pitch, so it makes sense that he’d struggle as he runs out of gas and isn’t able to set up his slider, curve, and change as well.
Lefties have absolutely pounded Houser this season, posting a .873 OPS and .364 wOBA, though those numbers were actually higher a month ago. He’s been able to get a lot of grounders by keeping the ball down, but we’ve already seen that mistakes can and will be punished. If nothing else, it’s just great to not have to watch the Cubs flounder against Gio Emeffing González.
The Cubs shifting things around a little to give Jon Lester this start, with Kyle Hendricks going Monday in San Diego. That’s probably because BDJ is old and gets cranky when he’s up too late, so taking the bump at such a late hour was not advisable.
First pitch is at 1:10pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago and 670 The Score.
Here is today's #Cubs starting lineup.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 8, 2019