The Chicago Cubs have won four straight games coming out of the break, and have a chance to win their second-consecutive series with a victory tonight.
Here’s the group that’ll try and make it happen:
- Ben Zobrist, LF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Willson Contreras, C
- Addison Russell, SS
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Javy Baez, 2B
- John Lackey, P
With the lefty Sean Newcomb on the mound for the Braves tonight, Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ (who, despite being a switch-hitter prefers to bat left-handed), are both getting a breather. Although, I suspect we’ll see each before the night is through.
In Schwarber’s place in left you’ll find Ben Zobrist covering and batting leadoff, followed by the new normal 2-4 of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Willson Contreras.
After those four, however, it’s all defense all the time, as the Cubs line up Addison Russell, Albert Almora, Jason Heyward, and Javy Baez at short, center, right, and second base. Each of those four have plenty of upside at the plate, of course, but those sure are some shiny gloves out there.
Here’s your reminder that Almora has essentially become un-benchable against left-handed pitchers: .368/.471/.596 with a walk rate (16.2%) greater than his strikeout rate (13.2%). Yeah, he’s got a 178 wRC+ against lefties this season, which, holy crap.
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ closer to game time (6:35 CT).