Chicago Cubs Lineup: Javy Baez - Cleanup Man, Righty-Masher

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Chicago Cubs Lineup: Javy Baez – Cleanup Man, Righty-Masher

Chicago Cubs

Later this afternoon, the Chicago Cubs will host the White Sox for the first of a three-game series at Wrigley Field. They’ll play without Jason Heyward, which is a bummer, because they’ll be facing three straight righties.

We’ll have your Series Preview out shortly, but for now, here’s how they’ll line up for Game 1.

Chicago Cubs Lineup: 

  1. Ben Zobrist, RF
  2. Kris Bryant, 3B
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Javy Baez, 2B
  5. Kyle Schwarber, LF
  6. Willson Contreras, C
  7. Addison Russell, SS
  8. Ian Happ, CF
  9. Tyler Chatwood, P

As Maddon indicated was likely, it’s Ben Zobrist drawing the start against the right-hander, Carson Fulmer, today. With three straight righties on the docket, I’m guessing we’ll see a lot of Zobrist this weekend, and for good reason:

Zobrist v. LHP: .286/.355/.357 (101 wRC+)
Zobrist v. RHP: .298/.377/.426 (125 wRC+)

Similarly, Carson Fulmer has been tougher on lefties (.336 wOBA) than righties (.357 wOBA), but as you can see, both get to him just fine.

In my opinion, the most notable change to today’s lineup is the change at cleanup. Instead of Willson Contreras in his familiar spot, the Cubs have elected to go with the MLB leader in RBI, Javy Baez, at No. 4 – what a risky decision. 

I know the lineup changes a lot, but I do think I had grown accustom to seeing Contreras batting fourth when he was in there and rested this season, so this is fairly notable, especially given Baez’s struggles against righties 

Do you know how good Baez has been against righties this year?

Baez v. LHP: 84 wRC+
Baez v. RHP: 180 wRC+

The opposite is true for his career and he’s still walking less/striking out more against them, but my god! How did I not realize how successful he had been at flipping this script this year? We’ll have to dig into this later, but, yeah, very cool.

As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ closer to game time (1:20 CT).

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami