A Rizzo Sandwich.
Whatever the phrase conjures to mind, I’m here to tell you that it’s about the Chicago Cubs’ batting order.
After revealing that, as expected, Dexter Fowler and Jason Heyward will be the Cubs’ top two hitters when they’re in the lineup, Joe Maddon added that the next three spots would typically involve two hitters sandwiched around Anthony Rizzo, who would be batting cleanup (Tribune, Cubs.com).
The two pieces of bread in the Rizzo sandwich would be Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist, though Maddon wouldn’t say definition which player would be batting third, and which player would be batting fifth.
As we’ve noted before, Maddon’s spring lineups had a penchant for featuring Zobrist in the three-hole against righties (Bryant fifth), and Bryant in the three-hole against lefties (Zobrist fifth). It’s possible that could be the setup in the regular season, too. It’s a good order for a number of reasons, including the tons of OBP at the top, the ability to alternate lefty-righty-lefty-righty, and optimizing ideal batting order positions (the top five spots are the most important in the lineup, but there is some data to back up the idea that the three-hole is actually the least important of those five).
The thing is, the personnel in the lineup will change on a regular basis as guys get rest, and as others are platooned, so even this regular top five in the batting order will probably change from time to time. And then, of course, as guys break out, slump, get hurt, etc., even the “regular” top five could change in a more permanent way.
That is to say: don’t get too hung up on the order right now. It’s a fine setup, and the Cubs will score plenty of runs.