The Cubs must come out on top today if they’re going to take this very winnable series against the Reds at Wrigley Field, but they’ll have to do it, once again, without Kris Bryant.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Ben Zobrist, RF
- Jason Heyward, CF
- Javy Baez, 2B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Ian Happ, 3B
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Victor Caratini, C
- Addison Russell, SS
- Tyler Chatwood, P
Ben Zobrist takes leadoff duties today, playing right field and pushing Jason Heyward over to center. That means Albert Almora is on the bench against the righty Matt Harvey. And for all of his struggles this year and others, Harvey actually is quite tough on right-handed hitters this year:
Versus Lefties: .359 wOBA
Versus Righties: .293 wOBA
So perhaps that’s also (partially) why it’s the switch-hitting Victor Caratini catching behind the plate today instead of Willson Contreras (maybe he’ll have better luck receiving/working with him). Or why Ian Happ is playing third base instead of David Bote. And, hey, good for Happ, because he’s swinging one hell of a bat. On top of slashing .256/.379/.455 (123 wRC+) this season, he’s been particularly hot lately:
Since June 23rd, Ian Happ is slashing a ridiculous .441/.568/.588 (218 wRC+) with a 22.7% walk rate and just a 25% strikeout rate.
He's so hot right now, he's getting a start at third base, just to get him in the mix.
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) July 7, 2018
So hopefully he takes advantage from the left side of the plate and the Cubs do more damage against Harvey this time around than they did a few weeks ago. Like, seriously, please. As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ closer to game time (1:20 CT).