It’s do-or-die for the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night as they take on the Colorado Rockies in the National League Wild Card Game at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs, who lost to the Milwaukee Brewers in a tiebreaker for the division title Monday, now face an elimination game as they try to extend their fourth straight playoff appearance.
Here is how Joe Maddon will line up his team against Rockies starter Kyle Freeland:
1 Ben Zobrist - RF
2 Kris Bryant - LF
3 Javier Baez – SS
4 Anthony Rizzo – 1B
5 Albert Almora Jr - CF
6 Daniel Murphy - 2B
7 Willson Contreras – C
8 David Bote – 3B
9 Jon Lester – P
Maddon revealed early Tuesday that he would hit Lester ninth in the order rather than eighth, an indication that he has no thoughts of pinch-hitting him early in the contest.
The big question for the Cubs is how seriously they’re going to take the lefty matchup in facing a pitcher going on only three days rest. Judging by Lester batting ninth, the Cubs are fully anticipating on having to deal with him for several trips through the order, as evidenced with David Bote and Albert Almora being in the lineup.
If Bud Black pulls Freeland early, Jason Heyward and Kyle Schwarber both lurk on the bench.