If the Cubs want to keep their series-winning streak alive, they’ll have to start with a win over Madison Bumgarner and the Giants tonight. Here’s the lineup for Game 2 in San Francisco.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Javy Baez, SS
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Robel Garcia, 2B
- Victor Caratini, C
- Yu Darvish, P
Bumgarner, a lefty on the mound, has been brutalizing fellow left-handers at the dish this season, but righties have actually handled him surprisingly well. Check it out …
LHH v. Bumgarner: .193/.221/.312
RHH v. Bumgarner: .275/.322/.460
… And yet, I still can’t imagine how you justify hitting Albert Almora Jr. fifth right now. I know both switch-hitters, Victor Caratini and Robel Garcia, are stronger from the left side of the plate, someone has to lead off (Kyle Schwarber), and no one seems to want to mess with Jason Heyward in the sixth spot, but come on.
If you hope to win your division and your fifth hitter is slashing .239/.275/.382 (67 wRC+ … which is worse than Jason Heyward’s first season with the Cubs, just so we’re clear), you have a problem. If Almora had enough PAs to qualify, he’d be the third worst hitter in ALL OF BASEBALL right now.
And although he has a history of hitting lefties, he’s actually even worse against them than he is against righties this season: .205/.241/.289 (38 wRC+), so that argument doesn’t even carry much water.
Joe Maddon doesn’t deserve all the blame – the majority is on the front office – but yeesh. This is sub-optimal. As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ post closer to game time (8:45 CT).