The Cubs are hosting the Pirates at Wrigley Field for a three-game set this weekend, and the lineup takes another twist and turn for Game 1.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Ben Zobrist, 2B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Willson Contreras, C
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Javy Baez, SS
- Ian Happ, LF
- Mike Montgomery, P
When Brett, Luis, and I were talking about why Bryant is leading off today, Brett guessed it was to “shake him loose” a little from what has sure felt like a mini-slump *relative to Kris Bryant.*
But while he is working on the longest homerless streak of his career (and his career started off with a LONG one), he’s actually got a six-game hitting streak going on right now, including three multi-hit games and a 138 wRC+. And if you stretch back his performance to the beginning of May … it’s 139 wRC+.
There’s no question that this level of production is fantastic for anyone, including Bryant (he had a 148 wRC+ when he was MVP), but his blisteringly hot start to 2018 recalibrated our expectations upwards yet AGAIN. And you know what, I think that’s fair of us. I think Kris Bryant is going to finish the season with a wRC+ much higher than the upper 130s. And because of that, I get the desire to shake things up for him, even if he’s not “struggling” right now.
I doubt he’ll ever be as good as Anthony Rizzo – the word’s greatest leadoff hitter of all-time – but I’m excited to watch him try.
With Bryant at leadoff, Ben Zobrist slides down – still covering second base in Addison Russell’s absence – which also means Javy Baez is still covering shortstop. Jason Heyward is back in the lineup after getting a day off following his walk-off grand slam and Ian Happ is in left in place of Kyle Schwarber.
You know it’ll be a good day when Albert Almora is in center and Willson Contreras is behind the plate, so I’m feeling good about the Cubs chances in this one.
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ closer to game time (1:20 CT).