I really wish Jon Lester was starting tonight’s opener against the Giants so I could’ve titled this post “A Star Studded Lineup,” but when life gives you lemons.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Addison Russell, SS
- Javy Baez, 2B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Willson Contreras, C
- Ben Zobrist, RF
- David Bote, 3B
- Ian Happ, LF
- Kyle Hendricks, P
For the most part, Joe Maddon has abandoned his strict-platoons in recent weeks (at least versus the early parts of the season when every lineup could be closely guessed based on the handedness of the opposing starter), but tonight is a little different.
To understand why the lineup looks the way it does, check out the ridiculous lefty/righty splits of Andrew Suarez, who’ll be on the mound when things kick off around, oh, 2:00 am tonight:
Verus Lefties: .177/.203/.276 (.206 wOBA)
Versus Righties: .300/.345/.480 (.355 wOBA)
That’s an enormous difference and without a doubt the reason Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward are riding pine in favor of the switch-hitting Ian Happ and Ben Zobrist. And it’s also probably the reason Addison Russell is batting second. He’s been hitting well lately, has a chance to do some real damage against the sort of pitcher on whom he tends to feast (left-handers with extreme splits), and the usual #2 starter, Jason Heyward, is on the bench. When life gives you lemons, use the metaphor twice in one post.
But don’t let Suarez’s severe splits lower your guard. He’s been very good this season and is particularly adept at keeping the ball on the ground and keeping free passes to a minimum. There are some reasons for optimism, which will go over in greater detail later during the Pre-Gamin’, but yeah, this rookie is no walk in the park. You’d love to see the Cubs finish the first-half strong and narrow that gap between them and the Brewers and that starts tonight.
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ closer to game time (9:15 CT).