The Cubs begin a very big series tonight, but they’ll do so behind Jon Lester and …
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Daniel Murphy, 2B
- Kris Bryant, LF
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Javy Baez, 3B
- Ben Zobrist, RF
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Willson Contreras, C
- Jon Lester, P
- Addison Russell, SS
Addison Russell is one of the best defensive shortstops in all of baseball, but man alive, he just can’t hit right now. Since returning from the disabled list on September 1st, he’s got a -5 wRC+. Since August 1st, that “improves” to just a 32 wRC+. And in the entire second-half of the season, Russell is slashing just .212/.248/.240 (31 wRC+). Maybe there’s a reason to be optimistic about his future, maybe an injury is affecting his swing, and maybe you hope to get him right before October to take advantage of his glove, but … is this the series to try?
The offensive gains of rolling with, say, David Bote at third and Javy Baez at short *or* Kris Bryant at third, Baez at short, and Ian Happ or Kyle Schwarber in left just have to be worth it right now. I know Joe Maddon is always operating with more information than we have, but that doesn’t mean we can’t question these decisions.
And, of course, I hope Russell proves me oh-so-wrong with a monster night at the plate tonight. Like, please. I would love to wear it.
In any case, Murphy is leading off tonight, followed by Bryant, Rizzo, Baez, and Zobrist. Those five players alone do offer plenty of offense, so let’s see if they can carry this team tonight against a pitcher, Wade Miley, who held them to 1 earned run over 6.0 innings his very last time out.
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ closer to game time (7:05 CT).