The Chicago Cubs are back it today, after losing the first game of the season to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Hopefully, with a slightly altered look, they’ll have better luck tonight.
Here’s the second Cubs’ lineup of the year:
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Addison Russell, SS
- Willson Contreras, C
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Javy Baez, 2B
- Jake Arrieta, P
- Albert Almora, CF
So this lineup clearly has a few unexpected elements. For one, the Cubs clearly took your Twitter advice to heart:
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) April 4, 2017
Indeed, Javy Baez draws the start at second base in the second game of the season, instead of Ben Zobrist. And that’s despite the fact that Zobrist is a switch hitter, and the Cubs are facing a righty tonight in Adam Wainwright. We’ve already discussed the fact that Baez will draw starts on his own merit anyway, so perhaps there’s not too much of a surprise there.
More notably, I’d say, is the absence of Miguel Montero.
Not only are the Cubs facing a right-handed pitcher tonight, Jake Arrieta is on the mound. I wouldn’t read too much into this decision (after all, we already know Contreras is the starter), but it is certainly a bit odd.
All things equal, you’d think that the combination of Montero’s left-handed bat against a righty and better receiving abilities (Arrieta’s stuff is nasty) would tilt the starting odds in his favor. But, as we know, Joe Maddon is nothing if not unpredictable. And to be sure, Contreras’ ability to throw runners out is a huge plus with Arrieta on the mound (who’s not great at controlling the running game), and he did hit a home run on Sunday night. So … I’m not complaining.
Other than that, Albert Almora draws his first start of the season in center, as Jason Heyward kicks out to right field. As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ closer to game time (7:15 CT).