Soler starts, Heyward sits to begin Game 3

Soler starts, Heyward sits to begin Game 3

SAN FRANCISCO -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon knew he wanted Miguel Montero to catch Jake Arrieta. The next step in his lineup construction was to get another right-handed bat in the mix against the Giants' Madison Bumgarner, and had narrowed it down to Jorge Soler and rookie Willson Contreras to play left field.

Maddon eventually picked Soler, which meant Jason Heyward was the odd man out in Game 3 Monday night of the National League Division Series, a 6-5 loss to the Giants in 13 innings. Ben Zobrist, a switch-hitter, started in right field.

Game Date Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 7 CHC 1, SF 0 video
Gm 2 Oct. 8 CHC 5, SF 2 video
Gm 3 Oct. 10 SF 6, CHC, 5 (13) video
Gm 4 Oct. 11 CHC 6, SF 5 video

"I don't like [Heyward] not starting tonight based on his glove, but we're going to give it a go," Maddon said.

Soler, who battled injuries this season, batted .474 in seven playoff games last year.

"[Soler], among all of our guys, has as much power as anybody," Maddon said. "I think a home run could be a very pertinent play tonight. It's difficult to string base hits against Bumgarner."

Soler was lifted before the top of the seventh, with Zobrist moving from right to left and Heyward entering the game in right. Soler went 0-for-3 with a strikeout, while Heyward struck out in his only at-bat.

Heyward was 1-for-7 in the two NLDS games entering Monday. In his first season in Chicago after signing an eight-year, $184 million contract, he batted .230, including .207 against lefties this season.

"In my mind's eye, with a player like that, you just have to be patient," Maddon said of Heyward. "In some ways, it's not unlike how [Jon Lester] got off to a tough start [last year] and then he did come on at the end of the year. I think it's the same thing for Jason.

Heyward's two-run double

"I don't know what it's like to be in that particular position as a free agent, and getting that kind of attention," Maddon added. "Getting to know him, I think he will process the moment properly. if there's any adjustments to be made mechanically or physically, he can do that now without games getting in the way. You get to the game and you're competing and you don't want to try the adjustments. I have faith in him. Beyond that, he's still been a very productive player for us."

• With Montero starting, the Cubs join the 1915 Red Sox, the 1927 Yankees, the 1998 Padres and the 2002 D-backs as the only teams to start three catchers in a postseason series. David Ross caught Game 1 and Contreras was behind the plate in Game 2.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.