(UPDATE: Anthony Rizzo has been scratched from tonight’s game with lower back tightness. The lineup has been updated to reflect the changes, but the rest of the post remains as is).
Well that game was just what we needed, right? Let’s see if the Cubs can do it again.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Ben Zobrist, RF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
Anthony Rizzo, 1BKyle Schwarber, LF
- Willson Contreras, C
- Addison Russell, SS
- Victor Caratini, 1B
- Jason Heyward, CF
- Javy Baez, 2B
- Kyle Hendricks, P
Last night, we were surprised to see Ian Happ’s name penciled into the leadoff spot, given how well Ben Zobrist had been hitting, how well Albert Almora does against lefties, and how much Happ had struggled since the regular season began.
Happ, of course, went on to go 1-6 against the Brewers with four strikeouts … not his best showing.
So probably because of that – and despite a righty on the mound (against whom Happ is stronger) – Manager Joe Maddon is putting Ben Zobrist in the leadoff spot, and sticking him in right field. The more than defensively capable Jason Heyward, then, shifts over to center and everyone else falls into their usual roles.
I know, at face-value, this is a bit of a bummer – we all wanted to see Happ succeed right away, like he had in Spring Training – but don’t get down on him (or Maddon’s 162-game plan) just yet. Zobrist just happens to be swingin’ it right now and Happ isn’t. With as much positional versatility as this team has, it would be a shame not to take advantage of it. I guarantee Happ has brighter days ahead of them, many of which may come at the top of the lineup.
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ closer to game time (7:10 CT).