The Cubs could really use a win today, less they be swept by the Brewers and allow them to move within a game of first place, so Joe Maddon has decided to shake things up at the top.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Javier Baez, 2B
- Jason Heyward, RF
- David Bote, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Willson Contreras, C
- Kyle Hendricks, P
- Addison Russell, SS
For the first time in quite a while, Anthony Rizzo is not leading off for the Chicago Cubs. Instead, Javy Baez, who’s actually been struggling a bit lately, takes over the leadoff duties. We’ve seen Maddon try this all season – you’re struggling? you’re leading off – to jump-start guys into producing, and it’s had its successes in the past (like Rizzo, for example).
So if Baez does go off today, I’d expect to see him there again tomorrow. HOWEVER, unlike Rizzo, whom I can actually see as a long-term option at leadoff, Baez probably won’t be long for the spot. Hopefully, once Kris Bryant comes back, people will settle into more normal roles and the Cubs offense can get things going.
Speaking of Bryant’s absence, David Bote is in the lineup again today, batting third and sandwiching Jason Heyward in the two-spot. Rizzo slides down to cleanup, and he’s followed by Albert Almora batting fifth once again, which I simply don’t understand.
Even if Junior Guerra, the Brewers starter du jour, wasn’t a right-hander with traditional splits (i.e. Almora’s kryptonite), Almora simply hasn’t been hitting anybody well lately. And even when he was hitting, he wasn’t hitting for much power. So … just, why? If you want to split up the lefties, okay, I understand, bat Willson Contreras there. If you want power, bat Kyle Schwarber there. I just really don’t get it, but he’s been batting fifth more than once lately, so there must be some method to the madness. Or maybe it’s just madness. Who knows.
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ closer to game time (1:20 CT).