(CBS) As he hinted at, Cubs manager Joe Maddon made a few more changes and stacked his lineup with lefties against the Nationals for a pivotal Game 3 of the National League Division Series on Monday afternoon at Wrigley Field. The series is tied 1-1.
Jon Jay will play center field and lead off. In the biggest change, Javier Baez will sit, while Ben Zobrist takes over at second base. Maddon had expressed his worry about his righties having to face Nationals ace right-hander Max Scherzer, whom Maddon called “oppressive” on righties. The Cubs will have five lefty-swinging position players in their lineup with Jay, Anthony Rizzo, Zobrist, Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward.
Scherzer (16-6, 2.51 ERA) held righties to a .136 batting average and .425 OPS with just six homers in 337 at-bats this season. Lefties hit .215 with a .692 OPS and 16 homers in 372 at-bats off him.
Maddon admitted it was difficult to sit Baez, but he wanted the extra lefty.
“Scherzer, purely Scherzer,” Maddon said of going with Zobrist over Baez.
Scherzer started once against the Cubs this season and was dominant, earning the win by throwing six innings of one-run ball and allowing just two hits and no walks while striking out six on June 27.
Jay didn’t start in the first two games of the series. He’s 1-of-8 lifetime against Scherzer. Rizzo is 3-of-10 with a homer lifetime against Scherzer, while Zobrist is 5-of-25 with three homers and an .893 OPS.
The Cubs will turn to left-hander Jose Quintana, who was 7-3 with a 3.74 ERA in 14 starts after being trade from the White Sox in mid-July. First pitch is at 3:08 p.m. and can be heard on 670 The Score, which starts its pregame coverage at 2 p.m. with Mark Grote.
Here’s the Cubs’ lineup:
Jon Jay, CF
Kris Bryant, 3B
Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Willson Contreras, C
Ben Zobrist, 2B
Kyle Schwarber, LF
Jason Heyward, RF
Addison Russell, SS
Jose Quintana, P