I’m headed back to Wrigley for the finale today, to see if the Cubs can’t complete that four-game sweep at home. Here’s the starting nine.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Murphy, 2B
- El Mago, SS
- Tony, 1B
- Willy the Beast, C
- J-Hey, RF
- Boat, 3B
- Schwarbs, LF
- Hendo, P
- Tico, CF
Daniel Murphy’s multi-hit streak to start his Cubs career ended at three-games yesterday, but his hitting streak continued with his second home run in as many days. Since joining the Cubs, Murphy has seven hits, including two homers, four runs scored, and five RBI. It’s been a good start, and he’ll continue to lead off today, against Homer Bailey.
Interestingly, Bailey is split neutral this season, which is probably why you see some balance in the lineup like Kyle Schwarber in left, but Albert Almora in center, but don’t think that’s a bad thing. Bailey isn’t really “equally good” against lefties and righties, it’s more like “equally bad.”
Versus Lefties: .287/.350/.557 (.375 wOBA)
Versus Righties: .317/.369/.518 (.374 wOBA)
The righties may be making more contact, but the lefties have held more of the power. I think everyone should have a good chance to contribute today.
The other most notable lineup change today is Willson Contreras cleaning up. Contreras has struggled rather significantly here in the second half of the season (79 wRC+), but he’s got hits in three straight games, including a double, and could really use a confidence booster and possibly some extra chances to tune his at-bats back up.
Maddon usually uses the leadoff spot to provide that service to players, but with Murphy in town and locking that spot down, “cleanup” is probably the next most reasonable choice. Players associate certain things with different spots in the order, and everyone knows what a “cleanup” hitter is meant to do. Hopefully, that’s enough of a mentality change to snap Contreras out of it and get him back on track.
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ closer to game time (1:20 CT).