Third baseman Kris Bryant isn’t off to his best start, but that’s not why he wasn’t in the lineup Saturday against the Angels.
It also doesn’t explain his absence from a key moment late in the game.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Bryant didn’t start because of the pre-planned lineups that are set three days in advance. Maddon said that he spoke Friday with Bryant and that he is in a ‘‘good place.’’
‘‘I just want to be proactive,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘Yeah, of course, [things are] not going great for him right now, so maybe the day’s going to help him a little bit. But I want these guys to know, proactively, I want to give them days off, [regardless] of the day before being good or bad.
‘‘This is how it’s going to be set up, so they don’t fall into that trap of thinking, ‘I’m not playing today because I had a bad day before.’ Although they never consider when, ‘I’ve had a bad day before, I am still playing the next day.’ That never meets the logic.’’
With two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth inning, the Cubs were at the pitcher’s spot in the lineup. Instead of using Bryant to pinch-hit, Maddon went with Mark Zagunis. Zagunis came back from an 0-2 count and singled to center to drive in two runs to cut the Cubs’ deficit to 6-4.
‘‘It’s something that KB’s not used to,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘If you have not pinch-hit, it’s really different. And he’s a regular, every-day player. So when you ask him just to kick the bench, shake hands and then go have an at-bat, it’s not that easy.’’
Bryant has pinch-hit seven times in his career.
Shortstop Javy Baez was involved in two weird plays.
In the first inning, the Angels’ Justin Bour singled to the right-field corner but rounded first too far. Right fielder Ben Zobrist threw behind him, but as Bour sprawled back to the base, the throw went off his foot. He then tried to advance to second.
Backing up the play, catcher Willson Contreras threw to second, but Bour was called safe as Baez appealed for a review. Apparently thinking he was out, Bour walked off the base and back toward the Angels’ dugout, allowing Baez to tag him again to end the inning.
In the second, a fan made a play on Brian Goodwin’s foul pop-up as Baez and third baseman David Bote pursued the ball. After the catch, the fan was booed.
‘‘A lot of other fans booed him, but he didn’t go for the ball,’’ Baez said. ‘‘He made a good catch.’’
Chatwood and the weather
If the game Sunday is called because of weather, it’s possible the Cubs could skip right-hander Tyler Chatwood and stay on regular rest Monday, meaning a start by right-hander Yu Darvish in Miami.
‘‘There’s ways that we don’t have to start [Chatwood] if, in fact, he doesn’t start if the weather’s bad [Sunday],’’ Maddon said. ‘‘We’ve discussed both possibilities. We haven’t concluded anything yet.’’
Catcher’s interference again
The Angels’ Tommy La Stella reached base via catcher’s interference in the second, the fourth time the Cubs have been called for that this season. La Stella reached base via interference eight times with the Cubs.