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Slumping Cubs alter lineup for NLCS Game 3

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

CHICAGO (AP) The Cubs altered their lineup for Game 3 of the NL Championship Series on Tuesday night, putting Kyle Schwarber in the No. 2 spot and benching struggling second baseman Javier Baez.

Schwarber got the start in left field against Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Yu Darvish. With Schwarber batting second behind Ben Zobrist, NL MVP Kris Bryant, first baseman Anthony Rizzo and catcher Willson Contreras each moved down a spot in the order.

"We've done this before. We've done it with K.B. 3, and Rizzo 4," Chicago manager Joe Maddon said. "So the guys have seen this method. Again, it was more to put Zo and Schwarbs in an advantageous position as much as anything else."

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts also made some changes to his lineup. Joc Pederson got the start in center field, Chase Utley replaced Logan Forsythe at second base and Andre Ethier was in left. Chris Taylor moved from center to shortstop.

Chicago lost the first two games in Los Angeles. The World Series champions are batting just .117 (7 for 60) in the best-of-seven series.

Zobrist replaced Baez at second base, but the slick-fielding Baez likely will come in if the Cubs have a lead late in the game. Baez is 0 for 19 with eight strikeouts for the playoffs.

"I hate playing any game of baseball without Javy on the field because he's such a dynamic defender, and he's been a big part of our defense, and hopefully we will get him in the game later," Maddon said.

Roberts also stayed with Austin Barnes behind the plate, but indicated Yasmani Grandal could start Wednesday with Jake Arrieta on the mound for the Cubs.

Roberts said he liked the matchup for Utley against Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks and putting Ethier in the lineup also gives him the option of using Curtis Granderson in a pinch-hitting situation against one of the Cubs' right-handed relievers.

"Also with `Dre, I think I like him against Hendricks to just kind of put quality at-bats together, give Curtis a little blow and maybe get him in there in a big spot," Roberts said. "Obviously with Joc in there in center field, we trust Taylor at short."

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Updated October 17, 2017

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