The Cubs announced this lineup relatively late in the day today, which gave me hope that Javy Baez might be in it after becoming a late scratch last night. Unfortunatly, that’s not the case.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Ben Zobrist, 2B
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Nicholas Castellanos, RF
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Victor Caratini, C
- Addison Russell, SS
- Jason Heyward, CF
- Cole Hamels, P
In Baez’s place at shortstop, you’ll find Addison Russell, batting 8th.
The other interesting positional decision here is Victor Caratini behind the plate. Normally, given the way Caratini’s been playing (very well) and the recency of Contreras’ injury, I wouldn’t have thought anything of tonight’s night game off for Contreras. And for those two catchers, I still don’t think it means much. But this does make me wonder if Yu Darvish is still on schedule to pitch tomorrow.
Considering that he almost always throws to Caratini, you’d think the Cubs would start Contreras again tonight, while planning to give him the night off tomorrow, when Caratini can slide in naturally. But if Caratini is catching tonight, perhaps that’s because Contreras will be back in there again tomorrow, catching someone that’s not Yu Darvish.
But who knows?!
Maybe that’s still the plan and the Cubs are just going to give Willson Contreras two nights off in a row. Or maybe Contreras is finally going to catch Darvish. Or maybe, or maybe, or maybe. There are a lot of possible explanations, and we probably won’t know until tomorrow. And, of course, that’s not the only interesting lineup choices here – Joe Maddon has also moved things around quite a bit.
In Baez and Contreras’ absence, we see Kyle Schwarber batting second, moving Castellanos down to third and Kris Bryant back to fifth (his first time there this season). I can see Bryant succeeding there, and, of course, when the top of the lineup is looking as good as this group has, it’s nice to see some added length to the lineup. Hopefully it all works out tonight, and the Cubs put up another 10-spot, because remember: they’re still without their closer, Craig Kimbrel.
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ post closer to game time. And you can catch Luis and I on another episode of Outside the Ivy tonight after the (post) game.