The Chicago Cubs are kicking off a seven-game home-stand against two last place teams (the Reds and Blue Jays) tonight.
Let’s see if this group can get things off on the right foot:
- Jon Jay, CF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Ben Zobrist, 2B Scratched with a stiff neck. Tommy La Stella takes over, bats second, and Bryant/Rizzo bump down a spot
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Alex Avila, C
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Javy Baez, SS
- Jose Quintana, P
There are essentially zero surprises in this one, other than (maybe) the fact that it’s Ben Zobrist at second base (instead of Ian Happ) and batting cleanup (instead of, I don’t know literally anybody else).
In case you haven’t noticed, Zobrist has been struggling for, well, pretty much the whole season and has just a .233/.314/.322 slash line in the second half (71 wRC+). Even on his strong side – as a lefty facing righties (like he will tonight) – he’s got just an 87 wRC+ this season. So batting him cleanup sure feels a lot like fitting a square peg into a round hole.
Ian Happ, on the other hand, may not be doing much in the second half either, but he did hit a homer last night and has a 112 wRC+ against righties as a lefty this season. Given that he, too, plays second base, I find this pretty frustrating and all too familiar.
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ closer to game time (7:05 CT).