The Chicago Cubs are beginning a new series tonight, against a team that’s given them trouble all season long … *checks notes, shuffles papers* Cincinnati?
Here’s the lineup for Game 1 against Luis Castillo and the Reds:
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Javy Baez, SS
- Kris Bryant, RF
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Victor Caratini, C
- Jason Heyward, CF
- Addison Russell, 2B
- David Bote, 3B
- Kyle Hendricks, P
Willson Contreras is apparently still dealing with a sore right foot and is out of the lineup once again because of it. And unfortunatly, his absence today says quite a bit.
On the one hand, Castillo is better against righties (.226 wOBA) than lefties, so the splits favor Caratini over Contreras on paper, but on the other hand … history:
Caratini: 1-10, 3Ks
Contreras: 4-8, three 2Bs, 1BB, 1K
These are small samples, but Caratini has been squashed by Castillo so far in his career, while Contreras has actually seen him quite well. And when you consider how much more Kyle Hendricks prefers to be throwing to Contreras, well, like I said … it tells you everything you need to know about this decision.
Other than that, David Bote has earned himself another start at third base, pushing Kris Bryant to right field, Jason Heyward to center, and Albert Almora Jr. to the bench. And at second base, you’ll find Addison Russell instead of Robel Garcia.
Russell cannot hit left-handed, but Garcia can. Shrug. Perhaps the Cubs want to (1) protect Garcia against a strikeout-heavy pitcher and (2) improve the infield defense for Hendricks.
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ closer to game time (7:05 CT) – and after the game, Luis and I will see you for another episode of Outside the Ivy on NBC Sports Chicago and Facebook Live.
Also: Don’t want this to be buried by the lineup:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) July 15, 2019