Joe Maddon may be a bit off the wall with his soundbites and his approach, but he doesn’t do anything by accident. So batting the pitcher in the 8-hole wasn’t just a quirky little experiment or a way to change things up in Spring Training.
Likewise, members of the Cubs brass were serious when they said they were comfortable heading into the season with three catchers on the roster. That meant one of a group of Ryan Sweeney, Matt Szczur, and Jonathan Herrera would be cut prior to Sunday’s game. Despite his $1.5 million guaranteed contract, Sweeney became the odd man out.
Despite some conversation that David Ross wasn’t necessarily brought in to be Jon Lester’s personal caddy, the elder statesman of the backstop trio will indeed be getting the start as his former Red Sox teammate takes the bump opening night. And about that second line above? Yep, Lester’s batting 8th.
Sunday’s lineup looks like this:
Jorge Soler, RF
Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Starlin Castro, SS
Chris Coghlan, LF
Mike Olt, 3B
La Stella, 2B
And I’ll like it a lot more when Kris Bryant is batting 4th and playing LF, with Olt 5th, Castro 6th, and so on. Of course, that’s assuming Olt keeps it together, which I’m sincerely hoping he will. I’m not sure why I continue to drive his bandwagon, but I’m going to do so until the wheels fall off…again.
I do think these first couple-three weeks are essentially a battle between Olt and Coghlan to see who is eventually replaced by the phenom currently watching them from across the street. Due to his past performance, it would appear My Colt is standing on thinner ice, but there’s also the emergence of Addison Russell and re-emergence of Javier Baez to consider.
But let’s leave all the what-ifs for another time and just enjoy the first real Cubs baseball in over five months.
gif via Adam Rifkin