It’s been almost *takes hands from keyboard to count on fingers* six months since the Cubs were able to use a DH in a game that mattered, so it’s kinda fun that they’ll do so again tonight in Boston. Kyle Schwarber remains in the leadoff spot, but he’ll be doing so without having to play the field, a skill that was recently brought into question yet again after a play he didn’t make in Pittsburgh. Because of course.
It’s more of the same after that, with Kris Bryant up second, followed by Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, and Addison Russell. Let me just say that I’m a huge fan of this order the way it’s set up. Bryant is really starting to come on, Big Tony has been mashing, and Russell continues to show that he really is capable of MVP-caliber play. Zobrist is the same steady BenZo he’s always been, so…
The bottom of the order gets a little tweak, with Willson Contreras slotting in behind Russell while Jason Heyward mans the seventh spot. The big right fielder has been doing a much better job of squaring up and elevating the ball, which could be a very good thing given Fenway’s short porch in right. Then you’ve got Javy Baez and Albert Almora Jr. rounding things out.
In addition to bringing the thunder, this is an excellent defensive setup, with the possible exception of Zobrist in left. But with Almora and Heyward out there, do you even need a third outfielder?
The Cubs will probably need the gloves against a Red Sox team that gets a lot of contact but doesn’t leave the yard much. That might be good for Jake Arrieta, too, since he’s shown a propensity for giving up the longball in recent starts. His counterpart Friday night, lefty Drew Pomeranz, will have his hands full as well. The Cubs are OPS-ing .868 and have a wRC+ of 130 against lefties on the season.
Bryant (1.446), Almora (1.250), Rizzo (1.206), and Contreras (1.056) all boast strong OPS numbers when facing southpaws and could do serious damage against a pitcher who’s giving up line drives and fly balls at the highest rate of his career (so far, anyway). Maybe KB can give his old man something to put in that book he’s working on.
Shipping up to Boston.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 28, 2017