Kyle Schwarber started two of the five games of the division series against the Nationals, and didn’t finish either game. He had just one hit in the series, but that was a big one, a pinch-single that wound up with him scoring the eventual decisive ninth run in the top of the seventh. Schwarber has never faced Clayton Kershaw, so this one has to come under the category of “hunch” from Joe Maddon. Here’s another possible reason for this move:
Jason Heyward sits in this one with Jon Jay in right field to start. You can be sure that later in the game, presuming the Cubs have the lead (or maybe even if they don’t), that Heyward will be in for defense and Jay will shift to left replacing Schwarber.
This is also a big opportunity for Albert Almora Jr., who also had a couple of big hits in the division series.