If you were looking for the Cubs to shake things up, Joe Maddon has delivered.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Javy Baez, 2B
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Willson Contreras, C
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Addison Russell, SS
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Jon Lester, P
With Ben Zobrist’s back acting up and Ian Happ’s struggles at the plate, Albert Almora is getting his shot to leadoff once again, and this time it’s against a righty. HOWEVA, like the last few times he was scheduled to start against a righty, Almora will face a fellow right-hander, Luke Weaver, who has had a slight reverse-split for his young career.
Given that the Cubs will need to get their young center fielder more chances against right-handers anyway, you might as well put him in the best position to succeed. So that end, I like it. Good luck, Al. (The Bullets got into some of this stuff today, as a matter of fact.)
I also like moving Javy Baez up to the two-hole.
Like Almora, Baez also struggles against righties more than lefties (so you don’t hate the reverse splits for Weaver), but that’s not probably not what this is all about. Javy was probably going to start today anyway, so moving him up is more about shaking up the lineup and giving a hot bat more chances near the top. Remember, as of this morning, Baez’s .235/.339/.667 (157 wRC+) slash line is actually second only to Kris Bryant on the Cubs. Maybe a different look will kickstart the Cubs offense into gear and get this season started.
Right? RIGHT? Alright, as usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ closer to game time (1:20 CT).