NL Wild Card Game: Cubs vs. Pirates lineups

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Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:

CUBS:
CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.

PIRATES:
RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole

Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.

Matt Klentak gives Gabe Kapler vote of confidence

Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
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Despite the Phillies’ current seven-game losing streak and 6-16 record since May 30, manager Gabe Kapler isn’t going anywhere. Prior to Monday’s series opener against the Mets, GM Matt Klentak gave Kapler a vote of confidence, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports.

Klentak said, “Gabe Kapler is our manager. Our staff is our staff.” He continued, “I’ve been a part of organizations that have made in-season staff changes before. You have to believe that if you’re going to do that that your alternative is better than your status quo. And I believe in our guys. The key to this group succeeding is this group coming together and doing it as a unit. Players, coaches, manager, front office, and believing in each other.”

The Phillies haven’t been performing well for nearly a month now, but the club has also been hobbled by injuries. The injured list currently features Andrew McCutchen, David Robertson, Tommy Hunter, Victor Arano, Pat Neshek, Jerad Eickhoff, Adam Haseley, and Seranthony Domínguez. Odúbel Herrera also remains on the restricted list having been arrested for a domestic violence incident. Seeing Kapler canned might be cathartic for frustrated fans, but it won’t help get anyone back from the injured list.