David Bote and Anthony Rizzo are once again together in the lineup. Rizzo leads off, followed by Albert Almora Jr. and Jason Heyward. Javy Baez cleans up and plays short, Willson Contreras is catching, and Kyle Schwarber is in left.
Ian Happ takes the hot corner and David Bote plays second and bats right. I suppose Joe Maddon has explained why he’s putting Happ at third instead of Bote, but it seems like part of the motivation is to keep Happ from feeling like he’s a second baseman at all.
If his last three starts are any indication, Jose Quintana is getting back to his old self. He’s 3-0 and has allowed only four earned runs over 19 innings, going at least six innings each time. The walks are still a little higher than you’d like to see, but he’s been better with the fastball and change. Getting the curve working well again would really set things off.
Going for the Cards is righty Miles Mikolas, a strike-throwing machine who will be facing the Cubs for the third time. He’s been darn good in those outings, allowing only two runs in 12 innings, so figure on more of the same this time around.
Mikolas isn’t crazy deceptive and doesn’t miss a lot of bats, he just doesn’t walk batters and doesn’t get squared up. He’s allowed only eight home runs this season, but just a single one of those has come at Busch Stadium. That’s part of why he’s got a 1.99 home ERA, much of which comes from dominating righties to the tune of a .198/.240/.235 slash.
This one could come down to the Cubs either dinking and dunking Mikolas or just surviving his start long enough to work over the bullpen. We’ll find out for sure at 3:05pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 28, 2018