As sure as the sun comes up every morning, Joe Maddon gets new guys in the lineup as soon as he can. Here’s the first group against the Reds.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Nicholas Castellanos, LF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Javy Baez, SS
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Ian Happ, 2B
- Jonathan Lucroy, C
- Cole Hamels, P
As you can see, new Cubs catcher Jonathan Lucroy is in there right away, catching Cole Hamels (whom he’s caught in the past) and batting eighth. Lucroy might not be the guy he once was, but he’s a pretty good fit for this team at this moment in time. Go get some, dude.
Other than that, I’ll point out that this is the second straight start at second base for Ian Happ, who had a huge series against the A’s. But make note: the switch-hitting Happ has historically been better against right-handed pitchers (batting as a lefty) than the opposite. And Alex Wood, a lefty, is on the mound for the Reds today. With that said, Happ had shown improvement against lefties in Triple-A this year, and if he wants to be an everyday, impact-player, he’ll have to hit them, too (at least around an average clip).
Wood’s presence, by the way, sends a red-hot Kyle Schwarber to the bench in favor of Albert Almora Jr., who continues to draw just about every start against a lefty he can. I’m not too upset about it though, because with three straight righties coming up, we’ll see plenty of Schwarber this weekend.
As usual, we’ll have your full pre-gamin’ post closer to game time (6:10 CT).