The Chicago Cubs are starting a new series tonight against a very good Phillies team and against an old friend in Jake Arrieta. Here’s how they’ll line up for Game 1 in Chicago.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Victor Caratini, C
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Daniel Descalso, 2B
- Addison Russell, SS
- Yu Darvish, P
Jake Arrieta has allowed a LOT more damage against left-handed batters (.247/.347/.444) than right-handed batters (.254/.321/.341) this season, so I’m glad to see the continued use of Kyle Schwarber atop the lineup. I mean, he’d probably have to be there anyway – given the way Daniel Desclaso and Jason Heyward have been hitting (and the continued absence of Ben Zobrist) – but on top of taking a ton of walks lately and just looking better at the plate overall, he’s a good match against Arrieta this season.
Indeed, with the switch-hitting Victor Caratini in the lineup, Arrieta will have to face five left-handed bats tonight. That should work in the Cubs favor.
And to that end, the timing worked out well for Caratini: On top of the favorable splits for the Cubs back-up catcher, Willson Contreras has been starting a LOT lately (while Caratini was out with an injury) and doesn’t get matched up with Darvish very often. Perhaps Caratini can help Darvish in whatever way (receiving/game calling?) Taylor Davis did while he was gone.
But the headline note here, of course, is the absence of Javier Baez. Yesterday, Baez hurt himself making a stellar infield play and was removed from the game early. He said he wanted to play tonight, but is obviously not in there, so let’s just hope this is all out of an abundance of caution. Obviously, the Cubs would want to play it safe with Baez, especially when there’s a defensively capable backup shortstop on the roster again. Even still, get well soon, Javy,
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ post closer to game time (7:05 CT).