Chicago Cubs Lineup (8/16/20): Lester on the Bump, Bryant at Third, Hoerner at Short as Cubs Seek Split with Brewers

The Chicago Cubs come into today’s matchup having narrowly lost the last two games against the Milwaukee Brewers. And yes, those are both games you wish they could’ve found a way to win. With a win today, however, they can avoid losing their first series of the year.

Kris Bryant, who’s due for a breakout game, is atop the starting lineup playing third for the second consecutive day after tweaking his left ring finger. Anthony Rizzo is playing first and batting second, followed by Willson Contreras catching, Kyle Schwarber playing DH, and Steven Souza Jr. playing left.

Ian Happ has laid the groundwork for a stellar season with a .309/.433/.582 slash line. He’ll play center and bat sixth followed by Jason Heyward and Nico Hoerner, who’s in at short covering for Javy Báez who starts the day on the bench. Jason Kipnis is batting ninth and playing second.

Jon Lester has been excellent all season and there’s no reason to believe his results to this point are flukey. Rather than attempting to reach back for more power and become an old version of himself, the lefty has gotten comfortable pitching to contact and letting his defense make outs for him. That kind of pitching will play.

Going for the Brewers is 33-year-old righty Josh Lindblom, who’s back in MLB after reviving his career in South Korea over the two previous seasons. Lindblom actually spent most of the last five seasons in KBO, spending a brief period with the Pirates in 2017, and has experience with several other organizations since being drafted by the Dodgers in 2008.

This is the first time he’s gotten a real shot as an MLB starter, but he hasn’t exactly made the most of it to this point. While he’s struck out 20 in just 12.2 innings, he’s given up eight earned runs on 14 hits and six walks. Lindblom’s strength is a varied repertoire that consists of at least six pitches: fastball, cutter, slider, change, curve, and splitter. He appears to have stopped throwing a sinker altogether, an interesting development from his earlier strategy.

While he’s limited righties to a decent degree, lefty batters have clubbed his pitches to the tune of a 1.192 OPS and .484 wOBA so far. I’ll take more of that this afternoon, please.

First pitch from Wrigley is set for 2:20pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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