Chicago Cubs: Hendricks, Cubs look to seal series victory

MILWAUKEE, WI - JULY 29: Kyle Hendricks
MILWAUKEE, WI - JULY 29: Kyle Hendricks /

Kyle Hendricks leads the Chicago Cubs on the mound in Wednesday’s rubber match against Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants.

The Chicago Cubs are coming off a disappointing loss Tuesday night by the Bay, but can right the ship today as Kyle Hendricks (4-4, 3.81 ERA) leads his troops against the San Francisco Giants.

Hendricks getting stronger

Hendricks has been trying to get back to the 2016 version that led MLB in ERA. Against the Nationals last time out, he matched a season-high seven innings pitched. Hendricks also went seven against the Giants in May. A game the Cubs won 4-2.

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Hendricks allowed two home runs against Washington, but limited one of MLB’s top offenses to three earned runs.

San Francisco counters with Madison Bumgarner (1-5, 2.88 ERA), who is also looking to get back on track following time on the DL after a dirt bike accident. Bumgarner has lasted seven innings each of his prior two starts, games the Giants lost to the Diamondbacks and Dodgers.

He only gave up two earned runs in both starts combined including shutout ball against LA. This will mark his first start against the Cubs since Game 3 of last year’s NLDS.

Shaking things up

Upon manager Joe Maddon‘s words following Tuesday’s loss, being that he’s disappointed with the defensive miscues and that his team needs to be sharper, a bit of a different looking lineup takes the field today.

Most notably first baseman Anthony Rizzo is not in the lineup.

Kris Bryant moves to the three spot, and Albert Almora will make his third consecutive start and bats second. Willson Contreras takes Rizzo’s spot at first base, and Alex Avila will make his third start for the Cubs behind the plate and bat eighth.

It seemed unlikely Kyle Schwarber would see much time, if any, against the Giants and their lefties but he’ll get the go in left field and bat seventh. Birthday boy Jason Heyward will not start.

Next: With Cardinals in free-fall, what lies ahead for the NL Central?

What’s next

The Chicago Cubs are off Thursday and pick things up with the Arizona Diamondbacks Friday evening at 8:40 pm C.T. from Chase Field.

John Lackey (9-9, 4.81 ERA) makes the start for Chicago. Arizona is starting Taijuan Walker (6-5, 3.60 ERA).