Jorge Soler To Play LF, Bat Cleanup For Cubs In Game 3

By Bruce Levine–

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) Facing Giants ace left-hander Madison Bumgarner in Game 3 of the National League Divisional Series on Monday night, the Cubs have made a few changes to their lineup.

Jorge Soler will get a start in left field, while usual right fielder Jason Heyward moves to the bench. Ben Zobrist will instead be in right field, with Javier Baez at second base. Zobrist had played left field in the first two games of the series, which the Cubs lead 2-0.

Zobrist has the most success of any Cub lifetime against Bumgarner, batting 6-of-12.

Heyward was told by the coaching staff Sunday that he would be sitting in Game 3.

Soler is 0-for-3 with a walk against Bumgarner in his career. Heyward is 3-of-15 with one homer and five RBIs in 20 plate appearances against Bumgarner.

Soler has just two at-bats since Sept. 24, with those coming in the regular-season finale on Oct. 2. He’d been dealing with an injury to his side late in the season after missing six weeks with a hamstring injury earlier in the year. He hit .238 with 12 homers and 31 RBIs in the regular season.

Soler had an incredible 2015 posteason streak of reaching base in nine consecutive plate appearances.

“I am always confident when I am in the lineup,” he said. “My condition is good, and I am ready.”

Miguel Montero will catch Jake Arrieta. Montero has struggled throwing out runners, but Arrieta has expressed on multiple occasions that he’s most comfortable working with Montero, who’s praised for his pitch framing skills.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon will have seven right-handed hitters in a lineup that includes pitcher Arrieta, who hit .262 with two home runs and seven RBIs in the regular season.
The Maddon thinking may be to roll the dice on outfield defense and give Soler a chance to hit a big fly in his first couple at-bats. At that point, Maddon could easily get back into the defense mode and insert Heyward.
The Giants and Cubs both expect another low-scoring battle with two power pitchers on the hill. This is an elimination game for the Giants, so expect the unexpected from San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy as the game progresses.

Here’s the Cubs’ lineup:

Dexter Fowler, CF
Kris Bryant, 3B
Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Jorge Soler, LF
Ben Zobrist, RF
Addison Russell, SS
Javier Baez, 2B
Miguel Montero, C
Jake Arrieta, P

Here’s the Giants’ lineup:

Denard Span, CF
Brandon Belt, 1B
Buster Posey, C
Hunter Pence, RF
Angel Pagan, LF
Brandon Crawford, SS
Joe Panik, 2B
Conor Gillaspie, 3B
Madison Bumgarner, LHP

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