Cubs manager David Ross made a couple tweaks to the lineup as his team faces elimination in Game 2 of a best-of-three Wild Card Series against the Marlins.
Most notably, David Bote is set to start at second base, rather than Jason Kipnis or Nico Hoerner, the usual platoon.
“Bote has just been swinging the bat as good as most of the guys we’ve had,” Ross said. “He’s been a guy that I think the narrative around him is he hits lefties, and actually if you really look at the numbers, he’s hit righties really good and hit the fastball.”
On the mound for the Marlins is a flame-throwing right-hander. Rookie Sixto Sanchez’s fastball has averaged 98 mph this season. Over his career, Bote has indeed hit right-handers (.251 batting average) better than left-handers (.212).
Bote also led the Cubs in RBIS in the regular season (29), finding consistent success with runners in scoring position. The versatile infielder hit .200 overall this season, but with runners in scoring position that mark jumped to .379.
“I think he’s smart,” Ross said. “He knows what he does well and tries to stay in his approach. … He does is homework and knows what his opponent does well and how that matches up with his skillset, and I think that’s a powerful thing in today’s game.”
Third baseman Kris Bryant also moves down the batting order to the five-hole, making room for Willson Contreras to bat third.