The Cubs open a three-game series with the Pirates on Friday afternoon (1:20pm CDT) at Wrigley. And Joe Maddon is running out a starting lineup that he hasn’t used this season.
Jake Arrieta faces the Pirates for the third time on the season this afternoon.
Matt Szczur is starting in left field, Albert Almora Jr. is in right field and Javier Baez is starting at third base. Almora Jr. makes his Wrigley Field debut starting in his third different position in the outfield.
Cubs batting order: Dexter Fowler CF, Matt Szczur LF, Ben Zobrist 2B, Anthony Rizzo 1B, Albert Almora Jr. RF, Javier Baez 3B, Addison Russell SS, Miguel Montero C, Jake Arrieta P
Liriano has struggled but has the ability to turn it around quickly. The Cubs must make him work today. Swinging early in at-bats will only play into his strength. Right-handers have a .824 OPS against Liriano this season with a .276/.375/.449 slash line. Left-handers have batted only .220/.333/.407 with a .740 OPS.
Maddon will begin the game with Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward, David Ross, Chris Coghlan and Willson Contreras on his bench.