Chicago Cubs Lineup: Baez Rests, Almora Jr. Bats Ninth

We’re eager to see Kyle Hendricks’ velocity after his fastball averaged 85 mph last outing. It was only 11 days ago that Hendricks opposed Gerrit Cole, who pitched well against the Cubs by throwing six innings, walking two batters, and striking out five on the way to allowing two runs.

Javy Baez gets a day off against the hard-throwing Cole, while Almora slots into the ninth spot. Joe Maddon noted on 670 The Score this morning that Baez will get hot at some point and his early season struggles might be a result of a “residual World Baseball Classic” mindset. The Cubs manager stressed the importance of Baez playing out his struggles.

Jason Heyward looks to continue his hot stretch by smashing two-seamers and depositing pitches into the bleachers. Cole, who averages 95 mph, will be yet another test for Heyward’s new swing.

Both Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber are making above-league-average contact in the early season, yet haven’t had the gory numbers to match. It’s only a matter of time before these two break out, though, especially if the early contact continues.

The game starts at 6:05 PM CT time and will be televised on WGN. The Hendricks-led Cubs have a 54 percent win expectancy and can push their record to 12-8 by the end of the night.

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