Tonight is a big game. If the Cubs manage to win this one – their second in three tries so far – they’ll secure at least a series split against the red-hot Braves, while giving themselves a shot at winning a very tough series. If not, they’ll be on the ropes yet again tomorrow, hoping for a series split with Tyler Chatwood on the mound.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Kris Bryant, LF
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Javy Baez, SS
- Willson Contreras, C
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Addison Russell, 2B
- David Bote, 3B
- Yu Darvish, P
Dallas Keuchel has made just one start since (finally) signing with the Braves several weeks back and it was a pretty mediocre one in Washington D.C.: 5.0 IP< 8H, 3ER, 0BB, 3Ks. But despite the late and slow start he is still Dallas Keuchel. I wouldn’t be too eager to face him on faith that he’s completely lost it, alone.
With that said, there are some reasons to be optimistic. For one, Keuchel has pretty significant career splits in favor of right-handed hitters, which is why you’ll find no Kyle Schwarber or Carlos Gonzalez in the lineup tonight. And one of the lefties the Cubs did leave in the lineup, Anthony Rizzo, is 2-5 with a homer against Keuchel.
With that said, Albert Almora Jr. and Addison Russell are just not hitting right now. In fact, their numbers over the past 30 days are the worst on the Cubs:
Russell (67 PAs): .211/.299/.368 (67 wRC+)
Almora (68 PAs): .215/.250/.323 (48 wRC+
Keuchel may be a lefty, but I’m honestly not all that sure the Cubs are better off with either of these guys in the lineup – let alone leading off – than Kyle Schwarber (who could’ve bounced Kris Bryant back to the infield and David Bote to second base). I’m not saying Carlos Gonzalez or Daniel Descalso are better options, but Schwarber has been pretty split neutral this season and has been hitting the ball hard lately. He needs rest too – and tonight is a good time for that – but I’m just not loving that offense.
PLEASE prove me wrong, gents.
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ post closer to game time (7:05 CT).