Though Joe Maddon said he’d be using four different leadoff hitters this spring, we’ve only seen two thus far. Albert Almora Jr. will be looking to duplicate Ian Happ’s early heroics when he digs in against King Felix this afternoon. Interestingly enough, this will be the second time Almora has led off against a right-handed pitcher, which runs contrary to popular logic.
Then again, neither of the other two leadoff options — Ben Zobrist and Kyle Schwarber — will be out of Monday’s lineup. Kris Bryant was initially slated to follow Almora, but was scratched due to illness. Javy Baez was then moved up from sixth to second, with Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell, and Jason Heyward filling out the heart of the order.
Victor Caratini is behind the plate and Efren Navarro will take on the designating hitter role, while Peter Bourjos mans left field and Jason Vosler takes over for Bryant at third base.
Most notable of all is that Tyler Chatwood will be making his Cubs debut. While we can’t expect to see much from this abbreviated outing, it signals the start of the main rotation’s participation in games. Jon Lester will take the bump Tuesday and looks to be set up to make starts on Opening Day and the Cubs’ home opener.
It’s starting to feel real. First pitch is at 2:05pm CT from Sloan Park and can be heard on MLB.com.
New Cubs lineup (Bryant out due to illness): pic.twitter.com/oOit6oF8wm
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) February 26, 2018