The Cubs posted the lineup for the opener of the three-game series at Miller Park. And as expected, there is a familiar name that has been sorely missed leading off for Joe Maddon on Friday night.
Jason Hammel will throw to Miguel Montero and the Cubs offense will have to figure out right-hander Jimmy Nelson.
Cubs batting order: Dexter Fowler CF, Kris Bryant 3B, Anthony Rizzo 1B, Ben Zobrist 2B, Willson Contreras LF, Jason Heyward RF, Addison Russell SS, Miguel Montero C, Jason Hammel P
The Cubs obviously missed Dexter Fowler offensively and defensively. Having Fowler back not only lengthens the lineup, it allows Maddon to have Jason Heyward play right field with Fowler in center.
The Cubs are 43-18 with Fowler in the lineup. ESPN Chicago reported the Cubs scored 5.4 runs per game with him in the lineup and 4.7 runs per game without Fowler. The Cubs are 14-19 in games Fowler has not played in.
Maddon is running out a balanced lineup as expected. Right-handers have hit .271/.344/.362 with a .707 OPS against Jimmy Nelson this season while left-handers have a .749 OPS and a .228/.336/.413 slash line.
Javier Baez, Matt Szczur, David Ross and Tommy La Stella will be on the bench to start Friday’s game at Miller Park.