The Cubs are hosting the Padres for a brief three-game set at Wrigley Field.
Here’s the lineup for Game 1:
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Ian Happ, 2B
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Willson Contreras, C
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Javy Baez, SS
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Jon Lester, P
- Jon Jay, RF
Against the Padres’ split-heavy lefty, Clayton Richard, the Cubs are going with … just five right-handers?
Well, considering that three of the four guys left on the bench are left-handed hitters (Tommy La Stella, Miguel Montero, and Jason Heyward), I guess there’s not much of a choice. Addison Russell could have played and bumped Baez to second base, and Ian Happ out to center field, but for whatever reason, Joe Maddon prefers Albert Almora’s stick and glove tonight against the southpaw.
Wait. Scratch that. Not for whatever reason. For a pretty good reason: Almora has absolutely crushed left-handers for his career (146 wRC+), while Russell has actually struggled more against them (85 wRC+ v. LHP) than he has against righties (92 wRC+ v. RHP). I guess that’s your answer.
Anthony Rizzo leads off once again and is looking to reach base as the leadoff man for the SIXTH straight game. Ian Happ follows, and Kris Bryant bats third. Willson Contreras bats cleanup, and, as usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ closer to game time (7:05 CT).