Chicago Cubs Lineup (7/24/19): Schwarber Leads Off, Contreras Catching, Chatwood Starts in Place of Sick Lester

Kyle Schwarber leads off in left, Javy Báez is at short, Kris Bryant is at third, and Anthony Rizzo cleans up. Willson Contreras is back in the lineup after being activated from the IL — at the expense of Addison Russell, who was optioned to AAA Iowa — with Jason Heyward in right, Robel Garcia at second, and Albert Almora Jr. in center.

With all apologies to those of you whose daily rituals are predicated on my razor-sharp analysis of the game’s opposing pitcher, I just couldn’t do it today. Staying up super late the last two nights only to face crushing disappointment has broken me. Well, that, and seeing Brad Brach give up a walk-off bomb in his second inning of his third consecutive game while forgotten man Tyler Chatwood stood on the bullpen mound.

I’ve given up trying to understand this team’s decisions for the time being and will stick to the most basic facts here. The Cubs are facing 26-year-old Tyler Beede, who boasts a 4.70 ERA and has battled control issues this season. But after walking 28 batters over his first 37.2 innings (6.69 BB/9), Beede has handed out only one free pass in his last 21.2 innings (0.42 BB/9).

He’s got a mid-90’s fastball and his most common secondary is a meh changeup, but Beede’s best pitches in terms of value are his his slider and curve. He doesn’t throw either frequently, though he may dial the slide-piece up against the Cubs’ righties. Lefties have compiled an .831 OPS with a .352 wOBA against him, so perhaps the Cubs can exploit that for some early runs.

Jon Lester was initially scheduled to start but was a late scratch due to illness (it’s got to be pretty awful if he’s not able to take the bump) and will be replaced by Tyler Chatwood. Maybe that explains Joe Maddon’s choice to keep the righty out of last night’s game, though it doesn’t say anything about him getting only two previous appearances in short relief this month.

But Chatwood was up for that 13th inning had the Cubs gotten past Pablo Sandoval and Lester was there at the game and reportedly doing fine. Oh well.

First pitch is mercifully set for 2:45pm CT and can be seen on NBC Sports Chicago with 670 The Score on the radio call.

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