The Cubs are fresh of a sweep of the Cardinals at Wrigley Field and are likely feeling as good as they have all season. Now they’ll turn their attention to the streaking Marlins, for a weekday three-game set at home.
Here’s the group that’ll look to move the Cubs’ winning streak to four:
- Ben Zobrist, 2B
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Willson Contreras, C
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Albert Almora, CF
- Javy Baez, SS
- Eddie Butler, P
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
So, I’ll admit that my initial reaction to a distinctive lack of Ian Happ is … uh, why? After all, he did hit two homers yesterday and is working on a three-game hit streak (which happened to follow a relatively bad slump that you’d have otherwise loved to see him continue to climb out of). Throw in the fact that he’s a switch hitter and you have to mostly eliminate the matchup advantage too. So, you know, what up, Joe?
Well, for one Albert Almora, who takes his place in center field, happens to be an exciting young player for the Cubs in his own right, and he’s gotten fewer and fewer starts in recent weeks. In addition, Almora had a big pinch hit of his own yesterday, and figures to get in every now and then anyway, right? Right.
We couldn’t know for sure, but I’d guess that Maddon has somewhat of a loose playing time schedule in mind for guys like Almora, Happ, Addison Russell and Javier Baez, and rather give the players the certainty of knowing when and how often they’ll be playing ahead of time, regardless how one particular game goes (good or bad). In any case, I’m excited to see Almora in there and hope he does well.
Other than that, Willson Contreras bats cleanup, Ben Zobrist leads off, and Kyle Schwarber continues to bat ninth, where he’s had some success in recent days. Brett just tackled Schwarber and the Minor League conversation everyone seems so eager to have earlier today, so I’ll encourage you to check that one out for more.
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-gamin’ closer to game time (7:05 CT).