Chicago Cubs: Expect left-handed hitting lineup for NLDS Game 3

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 07: Javier Baez /

The Chicago Cubs’ lineup for Game 3 of the National League Division Series should feature a plethora of left-handed hitters.

There is a great chance that Javier Báez is not in the Chicago Cubs starting lineup Monday afternoon. Really, the Cubs lineup should look somewhat different for Game 3 of the National League Division Series.

Reigning Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer will start for the Washington Nationals. Scherzer has been tremendous all season (16-6, 2.51 ERA, 268 strikeouts). However, lefties have enjoyed more success at the plate against him than righties have.

Lefties better against Scherzer than righties

This season, Scherzer has a 2.69 ERA (100 1/3 innings) against lefties compared to a 2.33 ERA (100 1/3 innings) against righties. While this discrepancy is small, lefties hit .215 against Scherzer compared to righties hitting .136. This adds up to 80 hits for lefties compared to 46 hits for righties.

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On the one hand, the Cubs have numerous capable right-handed hitters on their roster. Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Willson Contreras, Albert Almora and Báez all started in Game 2. However, the Cubs have equally as many lefties at their disposal as well.

At the very least, the Cubs could start four different players Monday, all of which are lefties. Kyle Schwarber, Jon Jay and Jason Heyward seem likely to man the outfield. The biggest surprise, though, could be Tommy La Stella entering the starting lineup.

Who would have thought?

For his career, La Stella is 3-for-6 against Scherzer with a double, triple and home run. Though the sample size is small, Báez is just 0-for-5 against Scherzer with three strikeouts. Russell is 2-for-5 with two hits, including a home run.

Starting La Stella could ultimately be a low-risk, high-reward move. If his success against Scherzer continues, starting La Stella could pay dividends. If he winds up not producing at the plate, the Cubs could remove him for Báez in later innings.

Ultimately, Báez eventually will enter Game 3, even if La Stella starts and is successful at the plate. Báez’s defense, base-running and all-around baseball IQ have the ability to change any ball game. At some point, the Cubs have to get him into the lineup.

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All in all, Scherzer’s numbers speak for themselves. With how much depth the Cubs have, the logical choice would be to start as many lefties as possible. In the end, though, they are deep enough to make any changes necessary as the game goes on.