The Cubs will present a slightly different look as they look to even the series against knuckleballer Steven Wright Saturday afternoon in Boston. While the top of the order remains unchanged from Friday’s loss, things get moved around a bit after that.
Only four hitters on the roster have ever faced a knuckler at the MLB level and all of them will be in the lineup against Wright. Ben Zobrist is in his familiar cleanup role, followed by Jason Heyward. Miguel Montero is caddying for John Lackey and batting seventh, while Jon Jay plays left and bats last.
Addison Russell drops back to the sixth spot this time around, giving the Cubs three straight lefty batters and four of five from Anthony Rizzo to Montero. My initial thought was that this was in response to a righty pitcher, but Wright is actually more of a reverse-split guy. Oh well, Maddon’s got more information on this than I do.
It’ll be really interesting to see how these young hitters fare against the knuckleball, having had so little experience against it. Wright has reportedly made some tweaks to his delivery in an effort to generate more movement and lower a nasty 8.22 ERA that’s been bloated by 3.57 home runs per 9 innings that ranks third-worst in the majors.
If the floater stays high, this could be a perfect opportunity to hang ’em and bang ’em. First pitch is 3:05 CT and the game will be broadcast on ABC-7 (local) and FS1 (national), with 670 The Score on the radio call. If you want to avoid the national guys but don’t live close enough to Chicago for the ABC broadcast, check out this list of affiliates.
John Lackey returns to the mound at Fenway.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 29, 2017