The Cubs are starting yet another four-game series today, this time against the Pirates in Pittsburgh, and here’s their lineup for Game 1 against the righty Trevor Williams.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Javy Baez, SS
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Victor Caratini, C
- Addison Russell, 2B
- Adbert Alzolay, P
So there are a few immediately obvious and solid lineup decisions today, including most notably Willson Contreras’ breather in favor of the switch-hitting Victor Caratini. Given Trevor Williams’ lefty/right splits, that move makes plenty of sense:
Williams v. Righties: .302 wOBA
Williams v. Lefties: .327 wOBA
What makes no sense, however, is Joe Maddon’s insistence on playing Addison Russell over David Bote right now. Yes, Bote’s glove is not comparable to Russell’s and yes Russell has a five-game hitting streak. I get all of that … and yet I’m not convinced:
Addison Russell is 2-12 with 2 strikeouts against Trevor Williams.
David Bote is 1-1 with a triple and a walk against Trevor Williams.
Russell v. Righties: .258/.301/.427 (.303 wOBA)
Bote v. Righties: .282/.362/.494 (.360 wOBA)
What exactly are we doing here?
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) July 1, 2019
I really don’t see – absent some sort of yet unannounced injury – why Joe Maddon insists on playing Russell over Bote right now. We can say Russell’s got a “hot bat” right now, but it’s not like Bote has been a slouch? In his last 104 plate appearances, Bote is slashing .283/.356/.511 (124 wRC+). By contrast, Russell is hitting just .253/.320/.418 (87 wRC+) in his last 103 PAs.
I get that Russell will always have a higher ceiling, but I don’t know man … I’d take Bote. At least, right now.
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ post closer to game time.