Ben Zobrist (Neck) Scratched from Tonight's Lineup

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Ben Zobrist (Neck) Scratched from Tonight’s Lineup

Chicago Cubs

Well, to the extent you were worrying about the Cubs outfield defense tonight with Jon Lester on the mound and an outfield of Schwarber-Bryant-Zobrist, you can rest easy. Here’s the new Cubs lineup for Game 2 against the Nationals.

  1. Daniel Murphy, 2B
  2. Javy Baez, SS
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Kris Bryant, RF
  5. Kyle Schwarber, LF
  6. David Bote, 3B
  7. Willson Contreras, C
  8. Jon Lester, P
  9. Ian Happ, CF

As you can see, the originally scheduled right-fielder, Ben Zobrist, has been scratched from tonight’s game with neck stiffness (per the Cubs). In the outfield, Kris Bryant will slide over from center to right and move up a spot in the batting order. Meanwhile, Ian Happ enters the game as the center fielder and bats ninth, displacing David Bote, who now bats sixth.

This move is something of a double-improvement on defense (Happ is better than Bryant in center and Bryant is better than Zobrist in right), but probably a step down offensively. And before you jump on me for the use of “probably,” I’d just like to point out that Happ hasn’t really been all that bad lately.

In fact, since the beginning of the month (super small sample, I know), he’s got five hits, including two doubles, a triple, and a homer, plus three walks in just 18 plate appearances. I’m not saying he’s about to go off on some monster offensive tear, but it’s not like he’s not riding a heater right now, right?

In any case, hopefully this is an abundance of caution thing for Zobrist, because the Cubs will very much need him down the stretch and, hopefully, into October.

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Author: Michael Cerami

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