Chicago Cubs Lineup (7/19/20): Hendricks Starts First Intersquad Scrimmage, Happ in CF

Tonight’s game still doesn’t count, but it feels a lot more real when the other team is, well, actually another team. The White Sox are making the trek north to face the Cubs in the first of three total intersquad scrimmages allowed before starting the season. These two teams will run it back Monday on the South Side, after which the Cubs have a game against the Twins before opening the regular season Friday against the Brewers.

Kris Bryant will lead off at third, followed by Jason Kipnis at DH, Javy Báez at short, and Kyle Schwarber in left. Willson Contreras is catching, Jason Heyward is in right, and Victor Caratini plays first in place of Anthony Rizzo. Nico Hoerner will bat eighth at second base and Ian Happ rounds out the lineup in center field. Albert Almora’s name was originally penciled in the lineup, but that appeared to be an error.

Rizzo took part in fielding drills and BP Saturday and David Ross said he will go through a full day of work prior to the scrimmage as he works his way back into game shape. The manager recently announced that Kipnis and Hoerner are his primary second base options, so it makes sense to give the veteran some at-bats even if he’s not in the field. Almora has been swinging a hot bat lately, which seems like the storyline every spring.

Even if you’re not in favor of the DH in principle, it gives the Cubs the ability to bat Hoerner and Almora lower in the order to better protect them or allow them to develop as hitters. That might seem a little overdue in Almora’s case, but he was too often exposed by ill-advised turns in the leadoff spot or by being forced into unfavorable matchups. This could finally be what helps him break back out.

Kyle Hendricks will be on the bump for the home team as he gets his final tuneup in advance of his Opening Day nod. Hendricks has been in prime form thus far, mixing the fastball and changeup as deftly as ever before flipping in curveballs as his outings go on. He spent a lot of time during the shutdown working on the bender in order to stay sharp and keep hitters guessing, so look for that tonight.

The Cubs will face 26-year-old right-hander Drew Anderson, owner of a career 7.71 ERA with 19 strikeouts and nine walks in 21 innings pitched. He’s made just one start in parts of three seasons with the Phillies, typically working as a long reliever. Anderson’s fastball sits around 93 and he’ll throw a lot of cutters and curves as well, but none of his pitches have been particularly effective.

White Sox hitters have looked pretty good against their own pitchers so far and they’ve got a lot of familiar faces in tonight’s lineup. Tim Anderson is at short, followed by Eloy Jiménez in left, José Abreu at first, Yasmani Grandal behind the plate, and Edwin Encarnación at DH. Luis Robert is in center, Leury Garcia is at second, Cheslor Cuthbert mans third, and Adam Engel is in right.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and NBC Sports Chicago, with the radio calls on WGN Radio and 670 The Score.

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