In just a few hours, the Chicago Cubs will host the Miami Marlins for the first game of a best-of-three playoff series at Wrigley Field. Sandy Alcantara is on the mound for the Cubs in game one, and this is the lineup manager David Ross chose for his first postseason game as manager.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
1. Ian Happ, CF
2. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
3. Kris Bryant, 3B
4. Kyle Schwarber, LF
5. Willson Contreras, C
6. Jason Heyward, RF
7. Javy Baez, SS
8. Victor Caratini, DH
9. Jason Kipnis, 2B
As we’ve discussed, Alcantara carries REALLY significant lefty/righty splits this season, so Ross was certainly right to load up on lefties:
v. LHH: .268/.366/.493 (.369 wOBA)
v. RHH: .190/.236/.238 (.215 wOBA)
With Happ, Rizzo, Schwarber, Heyward, Caratini, and Kipnis all starting today’s game, the Marlins righty will face six batters from his far weaker side of the plate. Of course, as it turns out, those nine batters are probably the closest thing to the Cubs regular nine starters, so it all kinda works out quite seamlessly.
Relatedly, Brett just wrote this with respect to Alcantara, the lefties, and the current weather at Wrigley Field:
Sandy Alcantara, however, is also a big-time groundball pitcher: he didn’t have enough innings to qualify, but if he did, his 49.1% groundball rate would’ve been 13th in baseball. The good news for a Cubs lineup loaded with lefties? His groundball rate against lefties is a paltry 27.5%. In fact, lefties hit fly balls off him at a shockingly high 45.1% clip. Don’t tell Cubs batters so they don’t get out of their rhythm, but man, today is shaping up to be a PERFECT day for Cubs lefty batters to hit a lot of homers.
In the meantime on the bench, David Bote waits for his chance to notch a two-out, late-game, pinch-hit RBI, Billy Hamilton waits to steal a base, and Nico Hoerner waits to improve the defense. This is a good group and their playoff march begins today.
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ post closer to game time (1:08 CT).