I get the feeling that this is gonna be our mantra for the next two weeks, but the Cubs’ fate rests in their own hands. They can win this division, without any help from anyone. And somehow, that makes me even more nervous. Here’s their lineup (late) for tonight’s contest against the Reds.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Ben Zobrist, RF
- Daniel Murphy, 2B
- Javy Baez, SS
- Victor Caratini, C
- David Bote, 3B
- Cole Hamels, P
- Ian Happ, CF
Victor Caratini steals yet another start from Willson Contreras behind the plate tonight. I know Caratini has caught Cole Hamels a lot this year (five of his eight starts), but this recent stretch of increased appearances feels like a bit more than that. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s pretty simple.
Maybe Joe Maddon is simply taking the opportunity to rest an apparently worn down Willson Contreras as much as possible before the (fingers crossed) postseason. After all, Contreras leads all of baseball in innings caught with nearly 40 innings separating him from Jonathan Lucroy in second and 89 more innings from Yasmani Grandal in third. It’s an added bonus that Caratini is locked in offensively right now. This all makes a lot of sense.
It’s also worth pointing out that Matt Harvey has limited Contreras to one hit in five plate appearances this year. Harvey has also been quite stingy against Cubs hitters to a .671 OPS while posting a 2.65 ERA, 21.9 K%, 4.1 BB%, and 1.29 WHIP in 17 innings over three starts. There is no doubt Harvey has been stellar against the Cubs this year. Though, I suppose he’s due.
We’ll have more in the Pre-Gamin’ closer to tonight’s 7:05 pm CT first pitch.