By Bruce Levine–
LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Cubs manager Joe Maddon switched up his lineup for Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, looking for some early thunder against Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill with the series tied 1-1.
Maddon has moved Ben Zobrist into the three hole and also supplanted Jason Heyward with Jorge Soler in right field. Soler will bat sixth in the lineup.
The hot-hitting Javier Baez — who has a .391 average and 1.025 OPS in the playoffs — has moved up to the fifth spot, while the slumping Addison Russell (1-of-22 in the postseason) has dropped to seventh in the order.
The logic of having Soler in the lineup is to give the power hitter a chance to make a game-changing swing in his first couple at-bats before the sun goes down. Dodger Stadium plays as a much friendlier home run park in the daylight, and it’s a 5:08 p.m. local start. Soler flashed playoff magic in 2015, when he reached base in nine consecutive plate appearances, and the Cubs hope he can rekindle that prowess in a big game.
Outside of Baez, Bryant and Willson Contreras, the Cubs have received little from anyone on the offensive end. The team’s usual No. 3 hitter, Anthony Rizzo has been dropped to fourth in the order after a 1-of-23 start to the postseason.
The Cubs players have never faced Hill, who is a former Cub himself.
As expected, Miguel Montero will catch right-hander Jake Arrieta. Arrieta will face seven left-handed Dodgers hitters. He’s allowed no runs and just two hits in his last 16 innings against the Dodgers, including a no-hitter at Dodger Stadium in August 2015. Arrieta threw seven shutout innings against Los Angeles earlier this season, taking a no-decision.
First pitch is set for 7:08 p.m. CT, and you can hear the hometown call on 670 The Score. The series it tied 1-1.
Here’s a look at the Cubs’ lineup:
Dexter Fowler, CF
Kris Bryant, 3B
Ben Zobrist, LF
Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Javier Baez, 2B
Jorge Soler, RF
Addison Russell, SS
Miguel Montero, C
Jake Arrieta, P
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.