Chicago Cubs Lineup: Lackey Leading the Charge as Cubs Go For Sweep of Rangers

I wonder if the angst that some Cubs’ fans were feeling before the break has been completely forgotten. If it hasn’t, then I’m sure a sweep by the Chicago Cubs (55-35) over the Texas Rangers (54-38) would do wonders towards reassuring fans that, yes, these Cubs are still the same Cubs that started 35-15.

John Lackey (7-5, 3.70 ERA) will certainly be fired up and ready to take the ball for the Cubs today. Similar to Jason Hammel – who pitched a gem yesterday but hadn’t won since June 4 – Lackey hasn’t notched a win since June 8 against the Phillies. You can bet that he’s keenly aware of that and it will be food for thought as he takes the hill today.

Javier Baez is starting in the lead-off spot today. He’s never been a high contact guy but his Contact% is currently sitting at an improved 73%, still below league average of 78.4%. Compare that to Dexter Fowler’s 78.8% Contact%, which is good but it’s paltry compared to Ben Zobrist’s 86.8% Contact%. Ben is sitting out today.

Willson Contreras will bring a defensive and offensive improvement to the catcher position, especially when compared to Miguel Montero who appears to be the main player who is losing the most playing time to Contreras. Montero has been somewhat ineffective at holding and throwing out runners so far this season, sporting a swipe rate above average (SWAA) of .096 compared to Contreras, who holds a -.003 SWAA (negative is good, positive bad).

Rounding out the outfield is Matt Sczcur in left field, young stud Albert Almora Jr at center field and Jason Heyward in right field.

Sunday 7/17 1:20pm
John Lackey (R)
vs. Rangers – Cole Hamels (L)
1. Javier Baez (R) 2B
2. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
4. Willson Contreras (R) C
5. Addison Russell (R) SS
6. Jason Heyward (L) RF
7. Matt Szczur (R) LF
8. Albert Almora Jr. (R) CF
9. John Lackey (R) P

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