Baseball is back! The first Cubs lineup of the year is here. And I no longer care about the how or why or the who. I’m just happy to be here. The Cubs will take on the Padres at 2:10 CT today, and here’s the opening lineup with Kyle Hendricks on the mound.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
1. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
2. Willson Contreras, C
3. Joc Pederson, LF
4. Javy Baez, SS
5. Cameron Maybin, RF
6. David Bote, 2B
7. Ildemaro Vargas, 3B
8. Ian Miller, CF
9. P.J. Higgins, DH
Surprised by the lineup? Don’t be. It means next to nothing in the grand scheme of things. Anthony Rizzo won’t be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2020, except maybe when Ian Happ is out (in which case, yes, please, let the Greatest Leadoff Hitter of All-Time cook). David Bote doesn’t have a leg up on the second base job over Ildemaro Vargas (or Nico Hoerner for that matter). And P.J. Higgins won’t likely win the backup catcher gig over Austin Romine.
A better way to understand how this group came together would probably be to separate it into two chunks: the first four players are obvious, everyday starters in 2021, and the last five are bench players, position battlers, or people the Cubs just want to see more of (for any number of reasons).
I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a similar split tomorrow, with Jason Heyward, Kris Bryant, Ian Happ, and Nico Hoerner starting up top, ahead of a collection of other guys with different goals and expectations this spring.
Sadly, today’s game will not be televised, but don’t be too sad: We’ve got games on the tube coming up tomorrow (vs. Royals), Wednesday (vs. Mariners), and Friday (vs. Indians)!
Here’s the rest of the broadcast schedule. And we’ll have a full Pre-Gamin’ post for you closer to game time (2:10 CT).
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) February 17, 2021