The Cubs and Cardinals kick-off a three-game series Monday night at Wrigley Field. John Lackey faces his former team for the third time. Lefty Jaime Garcia is pitching the opener for the Cardinals. And Willson Contreras is behind the plate, as expected, batting fifth behind Anthony Rizzo.
Kris Bryant is starting in left field. Javier Baez is back at third base and Albert Almora Jr. is batting eighth in center field … and Ben Zobrist leading off.
Cubs batting lineup: Ben Zobrist 2B, Jason Heyward RF, Kris Bryant LF, Anthony Rizzo 1B, Willson Contreras C, Javier Baez 3B, Addison Russell SS, Albert Almora Jr. CF, John Lackey P
Right-handers have a .684 OPS against Jaime Garcia with a .251/.327/.357 slash line. Fourteen of the 57 hits he’s allowed to right-handers this year have gone for extra bases (nine doubles, five home runs). Left-handers actually have a better slash line (.292/.303/.400) and OPS (.703) against Garcia this year but on a much smaller sample size. Garcia has faced lefties 67 times this season while righties have stepped in the box 255 times.
Willson Contreras had a lot of success against southpaws with Triple-A Iowa. Contreras was 20-for-53 with five doubles, a triple and three home runs (.377/.459/.679) for a 1.138 OPS.
The Cubs could place Fowler on the disabled list before tonight’s game and replace him on the roster with either a position player or a relief pitcher.
Unless there are roster moves, Joe Maddon will have a short bench Monday with Matt Szczur, Chris Coghlan, Miguel Montero and David Ross.