Schwarbryzzobrist is together again! After sitting out the last couple games with a stiff back, Ben Zobrist returns to the lineup at second base. That means a day off for Javy Baez, who has been scuffling of late.
As has generally been the case thus far this season, Miguel Montero forms a battery with John Lackey. This pairing help to give Miggy regular playing time and keeps Willson Contreras from being eaten alive. Metaphorically speaking, of course.
Also, Lackey’s relatively quick delivery mitigates enough of the running game that Montero’s diminished arm isn’t an issue.
Zobrist’s return pushes Addison Russell back to the five spot, which seems to be a natural fit for the burgeoning star. Jason Heyward, who’s looking like every bit of the offensive threat the Cubs had dreamed of when they signed him, slots in behind the shortstop.
Jon Jay fills out the bottom of the order with another start in center.
The best part of this game, however, is the Cubs’ opponent. Aging rock star Bronson Arroyo will be on the hill for the Reds as he tries to keep the moss from growing on the rolling stone of his career. Don’t let the 8.40 ERA and 1.53 WHIP fool you, though, the high-kicking junk-baller is exactly the kind of pitcher the Cubs seem to struggle against.
In basically a full season (197 innings pitched in 30 starts and two relief appearances) against the Cubs, Arroyo is 13-11 with a 3.06 ERA and 1.142 WHIP, both of which are his fourth-lowest against any opponent. Much of his success has come from limiting the longball, as evidenced by the .389 slugging percentage and .675 OPS he’s allowed to the Cubs.
Aw, who am I kidding? Ol’ boy’s finna get rocked this afternoon. Like, “Enough already” style. Gonna be a lot of dead air in Cincy’s broadcast booth.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 23, 2017