The Cubs have used many different lineups and tried six different leadoff hitters (Kyle Schwarber, Javier Baez, Jon Jay, Ian Happ, Ben Zobrist and Matt Szczur) this year.
That number increases to seven today:
Here is tonight's #Cubs starting lineup.— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 13, 2017
Game preview: https://t.co/QzmgckzF8J pic.twitter.com/Sbz0R3nsJS
Rizzo has the second-best on-base percentage on the team, .390. (Kris Bryant leads with .393.) So why not indeed? At least there’s a better chance of getting the leadoff hitter on base. It just might work.
Rizzo has never started a game batting leadoff in his big-league career. We’ll see how it works.
The lineup having the first baseman, second baseman and third baseman in the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 spots reminds me of one of Joe Maddon’s most inspired lineups while managing the Rays, the “Tommy Tutone” lineup he used on July 3, 2014 while his team was struggling:
Jenny, @RaysJoeMaddon's got your number. Tonight's #Rays batting order (by position) starts 867-5309: pic.twitter.com/m87PirbvKM— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 3, 2014
The “0”, obviously, was for the DH. The Cubs don’t have that option (at least not until they visit Baltimore after the All-Star break), otherwise I think Joe might have tried that. Zobrist, as you can see, was part of that one, too.
It didn’t work too well — the Rays lost that game 8-3.
But who knows? Maybe Rizzo batting leadoff is the kickstarter the Cubs need.