The Chicago Cubs are starting another series tonight, this time against the surging Rockies. And here’s the lineup Joe Maddon has picked for the right Jeff Hoffman.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Javy Baez, SS
- Carlos Gonzalez, RF
- Victor Caratini, C
- Jason Heyward, CF
- Addison Russell, 2B
- Kyle Hendricks, P
Okay, so the first thing I noticed when I saw this lineup today was the presence of Victor Caratini. With Yu Darvish on the mound tomorrow, Caratini figured to already have one start locked down this series, but now I think he’ll get two. Of course, this is nothing new.
Caratini caught Hendricks back on May 24th, the night before a Yu Darvish start, giving Contreras back-to-back days off. But unlike last time, I’m not sure if it makes quite as much sense.
I still like the extra breather for Contreras (the Cubs don’t have many off-days coming up), and I still like Caratini catching Darvish, but unlike last time, the offensive matchup isn’t as obvious. Tonight’s starter, Jeff Hoffman, may be a righty, but he’s been crushed by righties (.396 wOBA) far more than lefties (.335 wOBA) for his career. It’s definitely not a *bad* matchup for the switch-hitting Caratini, but I wouldn’t have minded seeing Contreras’ right-handed bat in there.
On top of that, Contreras just broke out of his slump with two hits (including a homer) yesterday, which makes two consecutive days off immediately after a little questionable. If the Cubs truly wanted to get Contreras two days off, why not go tomorrow and Thursday, when the Cubs are facing Jon Gray, who’s been tougher on righties than lefties both for his career and especially this season. In terms of the matchup, that seems to accomplish more.
Ultimately, I think it’s no big deal – catchers need rest and I really like Caratini and this idea of double-days off for Contreras – but I just would’ve preferred tomorrow and Thursday instead of today and tomorrow.
EDIT: The early game on Thursday would obviously make it tough for Caratini to start both games, but that speaks to the larger problem: When Yu Darvish needs a personal catcher, it makes it tougher to actually maximize matchups with your two catchers.
Other than that, Carlos Gonzalez gets another start in the outfield, which comes at the expense of Albert Almora Jr., who’s replaced in center by Jason Heyward. And that’s the Cubs lineup. We’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ post closer to game time (7:05 CT).
Luis and I will be doing another episode of Outside the Ivy tonight after the game, so stick around for that.