The Cubs open a three-game series tonight at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. And Joe Maddon posted his lineup in the first game of the season with the Pirates.
Cubs’ batting order: Dexter Fowler CF, Tommy La Stella 3B, Kris Bryant LF, Anthony Rizzo 1B, Ben Zobrist 2B, Addison Russell SS, Matt Szczur RF, David Ross C, Jason Hammel P
Jason Heyward missing the first of three with the Pirates is unexpected. Heyward is 3-for-15 with a double and four walks against Gerrit Cole.
Maddon is going with Bryant in left field and not Soler for the second straight game, and three of the last four games. Bryant was unavailable Friday.
Maddon’s bench for Monday night consists of Javier Baez, Jason Heyward, Tim Federowicz and Jorge Soler.
Gerrit Cole has owned the Cubs in the regular season during his four-year big league career. In nine career starts versus the Cubs, Cole is 7-1 with a 2.88 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. Cole faced the Cubs four times in the regular season a year ago. Cole was 2-1 with a 2.13 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. Cole allowed eight runs, six earned, on 20 hits with four walks and 32 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings.
Tonight’s matchup with Gerrit Cole is one of the many games coming up in which the absence of Kyle Schwarber and Miguel Montero will really be felt. Left-handers (.286/.324/.314/.639) hit better than righties (.229/.288/.313/.601) against Cole and both of the Cubs’ catchers have good numbers against the Pirates’ right-hander.