It feels like an eternity since Albert Almora Jr. last patrolled center at Wrigley, but it’s really only been three days. Given the events of the Pirates series, though, you can forgive my loose grasp of time. I hope you can also forgive my unabashed support for a guy who is near the team lead in WAR despite having only 17 plate appearances.
In fact, combining Almora and Jon Jay gives you 0.3 WAR — tied for the team lead — over only 34 PA’s, which is at least 22 fewer than current leaders Kris Bryant (57), Kyle Schwarber (56), and Anthony Rizzo (56). I’m not really smart with baseball stuff, but I’d say that’s a pretty good little platoon.
The top six spots in the order are quite standard, really, with the usual suspects all in a row. The only difference is that Ben Zobrist is playing second with Jason Heyward shifted back to his more natural right field. Miguel Montero gets the start behind the dish, largely due to John Lackey’s presence on the mound. Because he’s a little better at mitigating the running game, Lackey doesn’t really need a catcher with a strong arm.
Brewers starter Chase Anderson has faced the Cubs on three previous occasions, accumulating only 15.1 total innings. In two starts at Wrigley, he’s gone only 6.2 innings, which tells me the Cubs would do well to jump all over him early. It may be time for his 0.69 ERA to look a little more like his 3.16 FIP, which is still a really solid number.
Schwarber, Bryant, and Almora will all do damage in this game, thus bringing to fruition the Cubs’ nearly 69 percent chance to win. First pitch is set for 7:05 pm CT on CSN+ and 670 The Score, though it might be delayed a bit by the ceremony to award World Series rings to Jason Hammel, Travis Wood, and Jorge Soler.