With today’s much-needed off-day, the Cubs have the opportunity to maneuver their rotation a bit to set up match-ups in the coming weeks.
Taking advantage, the Cubs will push back John Lackey so that he opens this weekend’s series against the Cardinals, against whom he has consistently pitched very well. He’s also been pretty great in the second half of the season overall, so it’s a good idea to get him going in the biggest series of the week. (Famous last words? Nobody remember that sentence if he struggles.)
Taking the Mets series, then, will be Jose Quintana, Jon Lester, and Mike Montgomery, in that order. Three straight lefties for the Mets, who are without six of their best hitters (Michael Conforto (injury), Curtis Granderson (trade), and Yoenis Cespedes (injury), Jay Bruce (trade), Neil Walker (trade), and Lucas Duda (trade)). That makes it a bit hard to study the stats and say the Mets are “good” or “bad” against lefties, but hey, their remaining top hitter is arguably Brandon Nimmo, who has terrible splits against lefties. So, there you go!
The Cardinals also generally hit lefties slightly better than righties, so lining up for three righties in that Cardinals series is not a bad idea, either.
Shifting things around also leaves open the possibility that Jake Arrieta could slide back into the rotation this weekend against the Cardinals, though that’s far from a guarantee.
The Tribune notes that Arrieta did play catch yesterday, but his timeline for a return is still up in the air. Arrieta suffered his hamstring strain one week ago today against the Pirates.