Could the Cubs be up three games to none on the Reds right now? Sure. Absolutely, even. Could they also be down one game to two after last night’s melt-down and subsequent walk-off?
Here’s the lineup for this afternoon’s contest:
- Jon Jay, CF
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Ben Zobrist, RF
- Alex Avila, C
- Ian Happ, 2B
- Javy Baez, SS
- Jon Lester, P
As far as lineups without Addison Russell and Willson Contreras go, I think this is about as good as it gets. And yes, I’m including Kyle Schwarber in the two-hole as part of that good.
You may not have noticed, but in the month of August, Schwarber is slashing .278/.422/.472 (141 wRC+) with a 15.6% walk rate. I know, I know, he’s striking out like crazy, but are you really willing to sacrifice that .422 OBP in front of Bryant and Rizzo right now just because (nearly) every other at-bat he strikes out? I’m not so sure that I am.
In any case, it’s not like it’s just a matter of the last couple weeks. Since the All-Star break, Schwarber’s slashing .256/.370/.538 with six homers and a 13.0% walk rate. He’s not the complete hitter he will be in the future, but damn, I’m picking up what he’s putting down.
Also, I can admit when I was wrong: Alex Avila is starting behind the plate this afternoon, even after starting the night game yesterday.
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ closer to game time (1:20 CT).