Chicago Cubs: Joe Maddon has plenty of options Wednesday

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Oct 2, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Chicago Cubs second baseman Starlin Castro (13) runs to second base after hitting a double in the fourth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The likely: a hot bat and a powerful rookie

Starlin Castro, Kyle Schwarber

There may not have been a more valuable Cubs player not named Jake Arrieta down the stretch than Castro. Despite the trade rumors, a public benching, prospects pushing him and the outcry from fans to “get what you can for him,” Castro turned a corner and killed it down the stretch, hitting .369 with 5  home runs and 21 RBI in September/October.

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  • With Russell a defensive gem at shortstop, Maddon will be able to limit Castro’s defensive liability by playing him at second base while keeping his bat in the lineup. He also has had success against Cole, going 6-for-17 in his career against the Pirates ace.

    Schwarber has been able to adequately adapt to a role in the outfield in a limited amount of time after growing up behind the plate. While still not strong in left field, as evidenced by his -2.2 WAR playing the position, his bat more than offsets his defensive setback.

    Given the nature of the Pirates lineup and a tendency to hit to left, Schwarber may find himself in right field on Wednesday, a position he first played in the series against the Brewers this weekend. The Cubs need Schwarber’s big bat in the lineup for added protection for Bryant and Rizzo, giving the Cubs the best chance to score multiple runs Wednesday night.