The difference between a win and a loss today is the difference between a 2.0 game lead over the Brewers in the Central and a 4.0 game lead. That’s huge.
Here’s today’s group:
- Jon Jay, CF
- Tommy La Stella, 3B
- Kris Bryant, LF
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Ian Happ, 2B
- Javy Baez, SS
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Rene Rivera, C
- Kyle Hendricks, P
When I saw that Kyle Schwarber wasn’t in the lineup against a righty again yesterday, I was getting ready to concede that he must be dealing with some nagging injury behind the scenes and the Cubs were not interested in making it worse. That would’ve been frustrating, but understandable.
And then he came late in a blowout, hit a homer, took a walk, and even freakin’ caught a couple innings behind the plate. I’m genuninely confused about his playing time.
Full Season, Since August 1:
Heyward: 84 wRC+, 78 wRC+
Schwarber: 97 wRC+, 118 wRC+
Zobrist: 85 wRC+, 102 wRC+
What are we doing here, Joe?
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) September 10, 2017
Sure, Ben Zobrist didn’t find his way into the lineup this afternoon, but neither did Kyle Schwarber. Again.
Brett has theorized that Schwarber’s .186/.262/.458 (82 wRC+) since August 19th could be part of the calculus, and it probably is. But it’s worth pointing out that he’s had just a .171 BABIP during that stretch despite a really quite excellent 40.0% hard-hit rate. And on top of that, the guy taking some of his at-bats (sort of), Jon Jay, has hit just .258/.324/.306 (70 wRC+) during that very same stretch.
Like I said: I’m confused.
But let’s leave it there for now, because given everything we’ve pointed out, there really has to be a reason for this move. After all, Maddon bent the lineup today, putting Kris Bryant in left field for the first time in June (and, thus, Tommy La Stella at third base), just to – in a roundabout way – keep Jay’s bat in the lineup and get La Stella and Ian Happ in there too.
It’s not like this is a bad lineup or anything, I’m just interested in an explanation. Perhaps we’ll get one soon. As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ closer to game time (1:20 CT).