CHICAGO — When Cubs manager Joe Maddon didn’t start his $184-million outfielder, Jason Heyward, in Game 1 of the World Series, he indicated it would be a one-game-only kind of thing.
But Heyward wasn’t in the starting lineup for Game 2, either. And when Maddon posted his lineup for Friday night’s Game 3, Heyward again was missing, replaced in rightfield by Jorge Soler.
“Tonight’s lineup is based on their pitcher primarily,” Maddon said. “Their pitcher [Josh Tomlin] is righthanded but he has a really strong track record versus lefties. So for tonight I wanted to get Jorge back out there. I thought it was a good matchup.”
Righthanded batters had a .299/.323/.522 slash line with 22 homers in 402 at-bats against Tomlin in 2016. Lefthanded batters had a .229/.247/.438 slash line with 14 homers in 292 at-bats against him.
Heyward against anybody hasn’t been a great matchup for the Cubs for most of the season. He posted a .230/.306/.325 slash line with seven homers and 49 RBIs in 530 at-bats in the regular season and entered Friday night 2-for-30 (.067) this postseason.
Heyward did not play in Game 1 but pinch ran for Soler in the fifth inning of Game 2 and went 0-for-2. He pinch ran for Soler in the seventh in Game 3 and went 0-for-1 as the Cubs lost, 1-0.
Though Friday made it three straight non-starts for Heyward, Maddon, as he did before Game 1, said the standout defender will have a role to play in this series.
“It does not mean that Jason’s not going to start at any point, it’s just for tonight,” Maddon said. “Again, I’m trying do this one moment at a time, like I try to do everything else. I know their pitcher tomorrow, but I haven’t formulated that lineup yet. All factors considered tonight, I thought Jorge was the right guy to start. Yes, I do like Jason in the latter part of the game [for defense].”
Before the game, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson was given the Roberto Clemente Award, presented annually to the player who MLB says “best represents the game through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions on and off the field.”