(Kris Bryant has been scratched. Post with details coming, new lineup below).
The Chicago Cubs are starting a brand new series tonight – four against the Brewers at Wrigley Field – and they’ll face lefty Brett Anderson in Game 1. Here’s how David Ross lines up his Cubs for the opener.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
1. Kris Bryant, LF Nico Hoerner, 2B
2. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
3. Javy Baez, SS
4. Willson Contreras, DH
5. Kyle Schwarber, LF (replacing Bryant)
6. Ian Happ, CF
7. David Bote, 3B
8. Steven Souza Jr., RF
9. Victor Caratini, C
For his career, Brett Anderson actually carries reverse splits (lefties hit him just slightly better than righties), but he’s nearly made more starts this and last season (32) than he did in the three years prior (33). And I bring that up because last year, righties slashed .280/.329/.441 against Anderson, while lefties toiled away at .221/.280/.308. So in all likelihood, this is the pitcher he is today, which helps explain the righty-loaded lineup.
Indeed take a look at that group. The only left-handed batter is Anthony Rizzo (Ian Happ and Victor Caratini are both switch-hitters, but both will hit from the right side of the plate tonight). That’s pretty atypical for a Cubs team that could easily overload any lineup with left-handed hitters.
UPDATE: Obviously, Rizzo is no longer the only lefty, with Kyle Schwarber coming in to replace Bryant.
A couple other notes: Albert Almora Jr. is not in the lineup again tonight, effectively closing the case on whether he’s still going to make regular starts against left-handed pitchers. And Brett Anderson has been an EXTREME ground ball pitcher for most of his career, especially this season (69.2%). Hopefully, the Cubs are able to elevate, otherwise they may be at the mercy of the BABIP gods.
Of course, Yu Darvish is obviously going to dominate, so maybe it won’t matter.
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ post closer to game time (6:15 CT).