Chicago Cubs Lineup (4/8/19): Lester Starts Home Opener Backed by Familiar Lineup
The Cubs are finally back at Wrigley Field after what felt like an interminable spring training following by a nine-game road trip to open the season. There’s sure to be a little more anxiety than usual given the 2-7 start, but just being back at the Friendly Confines should salve some of the burn.
If the starting lineup for the Cubs looks familiar, that’s because it’s the exact same lineup as we saw yesterday in Milwaukee. Ben Zobrist leads off playing right field, followed by Kris Bryant at third, Anthony Rizzo at first, and Javy Baez batting cleanup playing short.
Following Baez is Kyle Schwarber in left field, Willson Contreras — who’s red hot coming into this series — is catching, Daniel Descalso is at second base, and Jason Heyward is batting eighth and playing center field.
Facing the Cubs will be 27-year-old righty Jameson Taillon, who comes into the game winless in two previous starts. His strikeouts are down this year, but so are the walks, and Taillon has not historically been a guy who hands out many free passes. But he’s also a guy who’s been roughed up in eight previous starts against the Cubs.
In 200 plate appearances against Taillon, Cubs batters have slashed .294/.357/.497 and have racked up seven homers out of 52 total hits. Lefties have had a good deal more success in general against him and tend to see his pitches much better, particularly the slider.
Taillon has a mid-90’s fastball that he’ll sink frequently, but it’s really about setting up the slider and curveball. Those breaking balls could make up 40-50% of the pitches he’ll throw in this one so Cubs hitters will need to be wary of his stuff. If he’s got any grip issues or misses his spots, though, we’ve already seen how the Cubs are able to ambush mistakes.
First pitch from Wrigley is set for 1:20pm CT and can be seen on ABC-7 or heard on 670 The Score.
Here is today’s lineup for the #Cubs home opener. #EverybodyIn
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— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 8, 2019