If it ain’t broke, leave it more or less alone but still tweak it a little. That seems to be Joe Maddon’s mantra this season as he tries to shake the Magic 8 Ball until it gives him the answer he wants.
For now, that answer appears to be Anthony Rizzo hitting leadoff, followed by Ian Happ and Kris Bryant. Weird as hell, but it worked yesterday. Kyle Schwarber is once again hitting sixth and playing left, with Albert Almora Jr. in center rounding out the order.
Miggy Montero and Jon Jay aren’t the guys most would peg as middle-of-the-order hitters, but there they are. And Javy Baez, who has bounced all over the lineup, is back in at short for Addison Russell and hitting seventh. It’s an unconventional set of bat-men as the Cubs take on Gotham’s Dark Knight.
This Matt Harvey, though, isn’t the same hero who led the Mets to a sweep of the Cubs en route to the 2015 World Series. He’s had a difficult time reestablishing his dominance after coming back from surgery to relieve symptoms from thoracic outlet syndrome. And by that, I mean that he’s striking out fewer batters while walking more, and that he’s also giving up home runs at a really high rate.
Like, not at the same rate John Lackey gives up home runs, but still pretty bad.
Harvey has walked at least two in each of his last 10 starts and he’s averaged 3.3 BB/game in that time. He’s only pitched six full innings once in his last eight starts and has not struck out more than six batters in any game yet. Given that he threw five shutout innings and allowed only four hits in his last start, the Cubs could be due for another big game.
On the bump for the Cubs will be Mike Montgomery, who’s making his second start of the season. Montgomery wasn’t great his first time out, striking out five and walking three in only four innings of work. Giving up only two runs to the Rockies is a pretty nifty trick these days, though.
The Mets are 10th in the NL with a .704 OPS against lefties, so perhaps Montgomery can continue to build his case for a more permanent role in the rotation with a good showing.
First pitch is at 6:10 CT from Citi Field and you can watch the game on CSN Chicago.
Here is tonight's #Cubs starting lineup.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 14, 2017