The Cubs dropped the first game of the series, despite a late-lead, because they couldn’t put together much offense against Gio Gonzalez or the Brewers bullpen (well, and because Pedro Strop was thrust into a spot in which he had no business, but that’s a story for another time).
Let’s hope this group – with another new-look – has more luck tonight.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Robel Garcia, 2B
- Willson Contreras, C
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Javy Baez, SS
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Ian Happ, CF
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Jon Lester, P
The righty Chase Anderson is on the mound for the Brewers tonight, and he carries some fairly significant reverse splits this season:
Lefties v. Anderson: .169/.231/.296 (.228 wOBA)
Righties v. Anderson: .293/.366/.511 (.366 wOBA)
For whatever reason, right-handed hitters have simply had a lot more luck against him all year (and, actually, throughout his entire career). Players strikeout against Anderson pretty equally from both sides (22.5-23.5%), but righties (1) walk a lot more and make a lot more hard contact (46.9% versus 30.3%) – which presents a bit of a tough matchup for the Cubs.
Speaking of which, the Cubs have a lot of history against Anderson, and not all of it is all that good …
Javy Baez: 1-15, 1BB, 6Ks
Jason Heyward: 3-22, 4BBs, 2Ks
Anthony Rizzo: 1-21, 1BB, 5Ks
Some of it is VERY good, though. Kris Bryant, for example, is 7-23 with three homers and two walks against Anderson, while Willson Contreras is 7-13 with a homer, a walk, and two strikeouts.
In any case, I can’t say I love Robel Garcia leading off – I much rather use his extreme power-or-nothing approach behind the guys who get on base a lot – but I guess we’re officially at the “Let’s just try ANYTHING!” stage, right? Kyle Schwarber certainly isn’t the answer up top and there appears to be an (understandable) reluctance to let Ian Happ do it as he attempts to regain his big league form. Otherwise, this is a perfectly fine lineup – I’m especially glad to see both Bryant (out of the two-hole) and Heyward (back in the 6th hole) in more comfortable spots.
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ post closer to game time (6:10 CT).