The Cubs are hanging around Wrigley for a weekend set against the Braves, the first of which kicks off this afternoon:
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
Albert Almora Jr., CFIan Happ, CF
- Tommy La Stella, 3B
- Kris Bryant, 1B
- Willson Contreras, C
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Addison Russell, SS
- Javy Baez, 2B
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Yu Darvish, P
The Cubs lineup looks a little weird today, but that’s going to happen when 1) Anthony Rizzo is out of commission/needs a replacement, and 2) you’re facing a reverse-split righty.
To that end, the Cubs found a way to get Tommy La Stella a start today, without sitting Javy Baez, who’s been swinging a hot bat/playing excellent defense, by parking Kris Bryant at first and La Stella at the opposite corner. La Stella has just one other start this year, and I have absolutely no qualms with getting him a full-game’s worth of plate appearances today.
As for part two, yes, Braves starter Anibal Sanchez has allowed a .327 wOBA against right-handed hitters, but just a .307 wOBA against lefties for his career – and those numbers were even more pronounced last season (.413 wOBA and .346 wOBA). So that explains the next weird part of the lineup: Albert Almora starting in center field and leading off against a righty. Again.
Like earlier in the week, it makes a TON of sense to get Almora starts against the righties with which he’s most likely to have success (reverse split guys), and I expect we’ll see him out there against all of those types this season. He needs experience against right-handed pitchers, but until he proves he can hit the ones he should hit, well, let’s just say this is the best way to start.
Game time is 1:20, and we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ closer to the start.