The only constant is change, right?
For the third game in a row, the Chicago Cubs lineup is led off by a different person. Take a look for yourself:
- Jon Jay, LF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Willson Contreras, C
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Javy Baez, 2B
- Jake Arrieta, P
- Addison Russell, SS
Ian Happ led off against the Cardinals on Sunday night, Ben Zobrist led off against the Marlins yesterday, and tonight, it’s Jon Jay who gets the first hacks at Marlins starter Jeff Locke.
And if you’re wondering, yes, Locke is a lefty and no he doesn’t have a reverse split. Indeed, for his career, Locke has been tougher against left-handed batters (.319 wOBA) than he has against right-handed batters (.328 wOBA), but the lefty, Jay, leads off nonetheless.
But is it really all that surprising?
If you recall, Zobrist is dealing with a wrist issue that allows him to bat left-handed, but not right-handed. So immediately, you’re presumed lead-off hitter is out. And then there’s Ian Happ who’s got a fantastic 129 wRC+ against right-handers (when he can bat lefty) and just a 78 wRC+ against southpaws (when he stands on the right side). Jay, on the other hand, offers a 100 wRC+ against lefties, so he’s the starter tonight. That was an easy mystery.
With Ben Zobrist out of the lineup, Javy Baez manages to stay in it, despite Addison Russell’s return. This actually works out quite well, considering how much Javy feasts on southpaws (112 wRC+ for his career).
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ closer to game time (7:05 CT).