The Cubs head to Washington to take on one of the best all-around teams in baseball. The Nationals’ offense is stellar, and Eddie Butler has been inconsistent at best, so the Cubs’ bats may need to win a shootout in this one.
Here’s the group to try (are you sitting down?):
- Willson Contreras, C – 25 years old
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B – 27 years old
- Kris Bryant, LF – 25 years old
- Ian Happ, 2B – 22 years old
- Javy Baez, SS – 24 years old
- Jeimer Candelario, 3B – 23 years old
- Albert Almora Jr., CF – 23 years old
- Eddie Butler, P – 26 years old
- Mark Zagunis, RF – 24 years old
Well, then. This lineup offers a whole lot to talk about, but instead of trying to cover it all or in level of importance, we’ll just take it bit by bit.
First and foremost, Anthony Rizzo is out of the leadoff spot and is replaced by … Willson Contreras. In terms of positions that hit leadoff, I’d be willing to bet that first base and catcher are among the very last (aside from pitcher, I suppose). The Cubs are facing a lefty today and Contreras has crushed lefties for his career (132 wRC+), so maybe it makes some sense. But also, it sorta doesn’t, ya know (so insightful, right)?
Beyond that, each of Jeimer Candelario and Mark Zagunis are drawing starts in what has to be one of the youngest lineups the Cubs have fielded throughout this entire rebuild and competitive window (and that’s saying something). Keeping months out of it, the average age of a Cubs starter today is just over 24 years old. I mean, Anthony Rizzo is the oldest guy out there. Who knows. Maybe with some youth and another unconventional leadoff man, the Cubs offense will be sparked into full gear.
As usual we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ closer to game time (6:05 CT).