First, the good news: I checked the rules, and the Cubs are technically allowed to win baseball games. I know. I was relieved. The bad news is that they apparently have to earn it. I know, stupid, right? Here’s the lineup for the finale in Atlanta.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Javy Baez, SS
- Willson Contreras, C
- David Bote, 2B
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Yu Darvish, P
- Mark Zagunis, RF
The other good news is that our write-in campaign finally paid off! Against a left-hander tonight, Kyle Schwarber is getting the start in the outfield over Jason Heyward. During the first two games against lefties this season, Joe Maddon has gone the other way, electing to keep Heyward’s potential with the glove over Schwarber’s potential with the bat.
But given the negative way Heyward’s season has started and Schwarber’s impressive first week, this is the right call – especially, in the short term.
In the long-term, of course, I’m even more thrilled. I think Schwarber will prove to be an everyday starter soon enough, but you can’t quite get him there until he’s better against lefties. And he can’t get better against lefties without more exposure. So regardless of how tonight works out at the plate for Schwarber, I’m just happy to see him getting in some experience against a southpaw. His bat can be truly impactful if he plays everyday, and this could be the start.
For what it’s worth, this is third lefty (of three) the Cubs have faced this season with reverse or neutral lefty/righty splits. Fried doesn’t really have much of a sample, but it’s at least worth pointing out.
As expected, Albert Almora Jr. is in center field and leading off and Mark Zagunis is taking the extra outfield spot. Newly extended David Bote is at second base, and, as usual, Contreras, Rizzo, Baez, and Bryant are at their usual spots.
We’ll have a full Pre-Gamin’ post up later.