Ben Zobrist Leads off again, this time while playing left field. Kris Bryant slides back to third base, Anthony Rizzo is at first, and Javy Báez cleans up at short. Kyle Schwarber is the DH in this one as he looks to follow up on yesterday’s big blast.
Daniel Descalso gets the start at second, Jason Heyward is in right, Albert Almora Jr. — who drew a walk against a righty last night(!) — makes his third consecutive start in center, and Victor Caratini spells Willson Contreras behind the plate. It’s good to see Joe Maddon setting the trend for a lighter workload already.
In keeping with the weekend theme of familiar faces, the Cubs will be batting against former Cardinal Lance Lynn. The burly righty split last season between the Twins and Yankees, posting a 4.77 ERA over 31 appearances (29 starts). The two relief outings came with New York, where his 4.14 ERA was nearly a full run lower than he put up with Minnesota.
Predominantly a four-seam/sinker pitcher, Lynn relies on the hard stuff more than nearly any other pitcher in the game. His velocity was even up a little last year, but his control was off as he both walked more hitters and gave up the hardest contact of his career. That bodes well for a Cubs team that can slug while being patient.
Of note, Lynn has a winning percentage of .462 (6-7) and a 4.62 ERA in 20 appearances (19 starts) against the Cubs. So that’s fun.
Cole Hamels becomes the second consecutive ex-Ranger to start in this series, and the circumstances no doubt have Chicken Littles fretting something awful. After all, Hamels’ performance in Arlington last year is a big part of the reason the Cubs were able to trade for him in the first place. He’ll have to pitch much better than that if the Cubs want to eat meatloaf tonight.
First pitch is at 3:05pm CT and can be seen on either NBC Sports Chicago or ESPN. Unless you’re one the unfortunate schlubs who lives within the Cubs’ blackout zone but doesn’t get NBCSC. Have fun with that. If you can’t or don’t want to watch, 670 The Score has the audio.