The Chicago Cubs (87-47) magic number to win the NL Central shrunk to 13 last night as the St. Louis Cardinals lost to the Cincinnati Reds. Jake Arrieta (16-5, 2.84 ERA) will take the mound today looking to shrink that number even further. He’ll be going up against the Giants’ ace, Madison Bumgarner (13-8, 2.49 ERA) and you can bet the Cubs would love nothing more than to run up the score on Bumgarner and give a boost to their three pitchers currently in the Cy Young Award race.
Anthony Rizzo gets a rare off-day today, something he’ll likely see happen a little more often as the Cubs wind down the last month of the season. In his place, the ever versatile Kris Bryant will play first and he’ll bat second in the lineup.
Willson Contreras is back behind the plate today to catch for Jake. It’s his fourth straight start catching for him and it seems like we can expect to see him catching for Arrieta going forward. What will be interesting to see is how Joe Maddon decides to split playing time amongst the three catchers once the playoffs start and how much playing time that will yield for the rookie Contreras.
Here’s today’s Chicago Cubs lineup: