Here’s what you’ve been waiting for:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 7, 2015
For those who paid close attention this past weekend, you’re probably not too surprised, since this is the group Joe Maddon experimented with in a clear nod to seeing if Kyle Schwarber could handle right field. At PNC, right is much smaller and theoretically easier than left field, so this makes sense as the setup if you want to have Tommy La Stella in there at third base. His high-contact approach looks mighty good to me in the middle of the lineup, especially when you consider that there could be opportunities to score a run by putting a ball in play (just look at the guys ahead of him).
Overall, though, I probably would have gone with my best defensive lineup. I understand the thinking behind this arrangement, and I don’t dislike it enough to complain – after all, Jake Arrieta strikes so many out and puts so many on the ground that the outfield defense’s importance is somewhat reduced.
And, then, by the middle innings, the lineup might look nothing like this. Javy Baez can come in at third base at some point, and/or Austin Jackson can come into the outfield to help, and/or Chrises Coghlan or Denorfia could push Bryant back into the infield.
I could go on. The Cubs have depth for miles, and, in some ways, the starting lineup is only an initial wink to how the game will play out.