Ross catching, Baez and Soler move up for Cubs
Mets, looking to sweep NLCS and go to World Series, stick with same lineup
CHICAGO -- The Cubs face elimination with a loss to the Mets in the National League Championship Series, and manager Joe Maddon made some minor tweaks to the lineup, starting right-handed-hitting David Ross at catcher and moving Javier Baez up to seventh in the order.
Game 4 of the best-of-seven series, which the Mets lead 3-0, is scheduled to be played tonight at Wrigley Field (airtime 7:30 ET, gametime 8 on TBS). The winner of the series advances to the World Series.
No changes for Mets
With the wins rolling in, the Mets have little reason to alter their lineup. They are sticking with the same order that they used in their Game 2 and 3 victories, save for starting pitcher Steven Matz.
Though several Mets hitters had been slumping in spite of the team's overall success, there were plenty of positive signs in the late stages of their 5-2 victory in Tuesday's Game 3 -- chief among them David Wright's three-hit game. He bats second in manager Terry Collins' usual lineup.
Curtis Granderson, rf
David Wright, 3b
Daniel Murphy, 2b
Yoenis Cespedes, cf
Lucas Duda, 1b
Travis d'Arnaud, c
Michael Conforto, lf
Wilmer Flores, ss
Steven Matz, p
Cubs looking for success vs. lefty
Rookies Kyle Schwarber, Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler were all in the lineup to back Jason Hammel, who will be making his second postseason start.
Facing Matz could be good for the Cubs. Chicago batters are hitting .276 against left-handed pitching in the postseason.
Ross batted .176 this season, and .156 against left-handed pitchers. Miguel Montero, who batted .248 in the regular season, hit .234 against lefties and .250 against right-handers. Montero is 2-for-20 in the postseason so far, 1-for-7 in the NLCS.
Ross bats ninth, with Hammel slotted in at No. 8.
Baez, starting in place of injured Addison Russell at shortstop, batted seventh in Game 1, eighth in Game 2 and ninth in Game 3.
The Cubs need to generate some offense. They are hitless in 25 at-bats leading off an inning. Anthony Rizzo is 2-for-10 and Bryant and Schwarber are each 2-for-11 in the series. Soler, who batted sixth in Game 3, is 2-for-8 with one home run. He moves up to No. 2, with Schwarber moving from second to sixth.
Schwarber has five playoff homers so far, one shy of tying the Rays' Evan Longoria for the most postseason blasts by a rookie. Longoria hit six in 2008.
The Cubs have scored 16 runs at Wrigley Field in the postseason, 15 of which have come via the home run. The only other run the Cubs have scored at home in the playoffs was on an RBI single by Hammel in the Division Series against St. Louis.
Dexter Fowler, cf
Jorge Soler, rf
Kris Bryant, 3b
Anthony Rizzo, 1b
Starlin Castro, 2b
Kyle Schwarber, lf
Javier Baez, ss
Jason Hammel, p
David Ross, c