Chicago Cubs Lineup: Happ Is Back, But Contreras Is Leading Off

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Chicago Cubs Lineup: Happ Is Back, But Contreras Is Leading Off

Chicago Cubs

Tonight, the Cubs will begin an all-important series against the Brewers just days before the 2019 Trade Deadline. This series won’t define the entire season, but it’s probably the biggest one the Cubs have played yet. Here’s the lineup for game 1 in Milwaukee.

Chicago Cubs Lineup: 

  1. Willson Contreras, C
  2. Kris Bryant, 3B
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Javy Baez, SS
  5. Jason Heyward, RF
  6. Ian Happ, LF
  7. Albert Almora Jr., CF
  8. David Bote, 2B
  9. Kyle Hendricks, P

WOW! Okay, there’s a lot to discuss here, so let’s dive on in.

Broadly speaking, I think the general purpose of tonight’s lineup was to get as many right-handed hitters in there as possible against the lefty Gio Gonzalez. And for good reason …

Gio Gonzalez Splits:

RHH v. Gonzalez: .276/.349/.459 (.342 wOBA)
LHH v. Gonzalez: .188/.188/.250 (.185 wOBA)

With splits like that, I guess I can forgive the continued use of Albert Almora Jr. in this lineup … even though Schwarber’s awful 73 wRC+ against southpaws this season LAPS Almora’s 33 wRC+. Whatever. What I don’t understand is why he isn’t batting 8th (or even 9th). He is not the guy against lefties he once was.

But all of that is okay, because my boy Ian Happ is back in the lineup tonight, and although he was worse against lefties than righties during his time in the big leagues, the reverse was actually true in Triple-A Iowa this season:

He’ll bat sixth tonight, replacing Schwarber in left field and taking over Jason Heyward’s spot in the lineup. Speaking of which … Jason Heyward moved up in the lineup from sixth to fifth. While he has earned it with his bat, I do worry that any subtle change to *anything* will derail the progress he’s built up this season. And the same goes for Kris Bryant (just to a lesser extent), who’s now batting second again. Which is not something he likes.

(This was back on July 4th):

I’m sure he’ll be fine there – he’s good anywhere – but given how well he’s hit out of the three-hole lately, it’s just … I think I’d prefer he didn’t move. I’m sure it’ll be fine. It’s gonna be fine. I’m fine. They’re fine.

The biggest shakeup – of course – is Willson Contreras leading off. I doubt this is something we’ll see all that often (maybe more often against lefties?), but I don’t hate it tonight – especially given Gonzalez’s splits (seen above) and Contreras’ splits (167 wRC+ against lefties) this season. This is a very different-look lineup and I can’t wait to see what it can do in Milwaukee. As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ post closer to game time (7:10 CT).

Also: Stick around after the post-game for another episode of Outside the Ivy, with Luis and I on NBC Sports Chicago (and streaming on their Facebook page). Go Cubs.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami