If the Cubs win tonight, they’ll secure yet another series win, extending their current series loss-less back to April 7th. And with Yu Darvish on the mound, Joe Maddon has certainly gone in a specific direction.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Kris Bryant, 1B
- Javy Baez, SS
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- David Bote, 3B
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Addison Russell, 2B
- Taylor Davis, C
- Yu Darvish, P
With Javy Baez (SS), Addison Russell (2B), and Albert Almora (CF) up the middle, plus David Bote at third base and Yu Darvish’s apparently preferred catching target, Taylor Davis, behind the plate, it seems Joe Maddon has done his best with the pieces available (remember, there’s no Ben Zobrist or Anthony Rizzo right now) to maximize the defense behind Darvish this afternoon.
That even includes Jason Heyward in right field, despite Sonny Gray’s reverse-splits this season:
Versus RHH: .227/.330/.333 (.296 wOBA)
Versus LHH: .212/.260/.273 (.229 wOBA)
With that said, Gray also has a 55.6% ground ball rate against left-handed hitters this season, which just … this isn’t a great matchup for Heyward, who’s been struggling lately (come on, PLEASE make me look stupid, Heyward). Those splits do bode well for the transient Almora/Russell/Davis/Bote quartet, of course.
Beyond that, you’ll note the continued absence of Anthony Rizzo at first base, which was expected based on the comments yesterday, so hopefully we’ll see him this weekend in Washington D.C. As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ post closer to game time (5:40 CT).