Today’s lineup against Madison Bumgarner, at first glance, might look a little wonky:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 27, 2015
So much to go through.
The big thing that undoubtedly jumps out at you is Kris Bryant in right field. With Jorge Soler out for at least a month, I wondered if this would happen. Bryant’s got the athleticism and arm to handle right, even if he doesn’t yet have the experience. By letting Bryant get some time in right field, the Cubs open up the possibility we discussed this morning: Javy Baez could have a spot at third base when he comes up in September (even if only, like today, against left-handers). The defense is probably upgraded, and the offense has the potential to get a bump, too.
For today, there’s not a ton of reason to do this otherwise unless you’re just dying to get Jonathan Herrera’s bat in there, or to get Chris Coghlan’s and Miguel Montero’s bats out of there. I can buy the latter two items, but less so on the Herrera thing. Today made sense to get Bryant some time in right to see what they’ve got out there for planning purposes. That’s my suspicion and I’m sticking with it.
Speaking of the outfield, you’ll also notice that Chris Denorfia (usual against a lefty) and Matt Szczur (usually on a plane somewhere between Chicago and Des Moines) are out there, which I very much like. Dan Haren is an extreme fly ball guy, so you might as well get your best gloves out there – righties, too, facing Bumgarner – for today. It gives Dexter Fowler another day to rest his hand and shin (hit by pitch and foul ball, respectively, earlier in the week), and also gives the opportunity to get Kyle Schwarber another start behind the plate.
Speaking of behind the plate, with David Ross out for an undetermined amount of time, the Cubs simply had to give Miguel Montero a day off at some point. Today, when you want optimum outfield defense anyway – and a day game after a night game – seems like as good a day as any.
So, that’s pretty much the size of it. Crazy lineup, but it all makes sense to me.