Chicago Cubs Lineup: Nico Hoerner Starts ... in Center Field

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Chicago Cubs Lineup: Nico Hoerner Starts … in Center Field

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs (9-2) are off to a hot start this season, and most of the credit can be directed toward the starting rotation and the offense. I did notice, however, that 6 of the 11 starting pitchers the Cubs have faced so far are relatively inexperienced arms (36 starts or fewer before facing the Cubs). Tonight, they’ll get their 7th inexperienced starter, with Royals lefty Kris Bubic making just the second big league start of his career (he skipped Double-A and Triple-A entirely!).

Chicago Cubs Lineup: 

1. Kris Bryant, 3B
2. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
3. Javy Baez, SS
4. Willson Contreras, DH
5. Kyle Schwarber, LF
6. David Bote, 2B
7. Jason Heyward, RF
8. Nico Hoerner, CF
9. Victor Caratini, C

Among the lesser changes here, you’ll note that – once again – Willson Contreras, the DH, swaps spots with Kyle Schwarber when there’s a lefty on the mound, and that Victor Caratini is catching Yu Darvish, as expected.

The more shocking decision, however, is middle infielder Nico Hoerner starting out in center field, a decision I suspect has everything to do with 1) keeping David Bote’s bat in the lineup, 2) protecting Ian Happ against lefties (against whom he’s not as strong), and 3) continuing to phase out the Albert Almora platoon. I don’t think we’ll see Hoerner in center field for every single southpaw start, but man is that striking (also exciting (also a little scary (also an indictment of how badly the Cubs don’t want Happ or Almora in there against lefties))).

Positional flexibility has been a hallmark of the Cubs since 2015, and even under a new manager, that continues tonight. As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ post closer to game time (7:15 CT).

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Author: Michael Cerami

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