Joe Maddon is the mad wizard of baseball. Sometimes, he shakes things up because his team has upset him in some way, shape, or form. Following Tuesday night’s loss to the San Francisco Giants, the Chicago Cubs skipper released a lineup that appears that it was drafted by a Twitter poll committee for today’s game. However, that said, the roster shake-up was done after the Cubs dropped a game due to what Maddon called sloppy defensive play.
Joe Maddon’s Roster Shakeup Against the San Francisco Giants
Here is today’s #Cubs starting lineup.
First of all, Kyle Hendricks vs. Madison Bumgarner had the potential to be a great pitching matchup if Hendricks was on. Hendricks wasn’t bad, but his high pitch count caused him to leave the game in the fifth inning.
Beyond that, this lineup was interesting to say the least. The outfield was a standard rotation for Maddon, except starting Kyle Schwarber against Bumgarner originally seemed like an offensive mistake, based on Schwarber’s recent struggles against lefties. He did end up getting a hit against Bumgarner.
That is neither here nor there, as it is the infield that is a complete barrel of “What?” that Maddon had fielded. Alex Avila catching the day game after a night game was not unusual, as it was Willson Contreras‘ typical day off. However, Contreras took the corner at first, with Kris Bryant at his usual position at third. Ian Happ and Javier Baez took the middle infield positions.
Happ playing second was a fairly comfortable position for him, as prior to this spring, he played the two middle infield positions. Since Addison Russell‘s departure to the disabled list, Baez has held down the shortstop position.
However, the assignment of Contreras to play first, and sitting Anthony Rizzo was the most startling change to the lineup. Contreras’ bat is a healthy addition to the lineup, but Rizzo is no slouch when it comes to the plate. The fact that Contreras went 0-for-3 didn’t help either.
Maddon’s ire burned into this lineup, and it is difficult to see if any player is safe from the Wizard. This afternoon’s matchup gave the Mad Wizard a chance to truly show if he has a magical touch when it comes to roster shakeups.
In the end, the Cubs fell to the Giants 3-1. The defense was better as the Cubs didn’t commit an error like last night and they turned two double plays unlike last night. Maddon couldn’t get more hits, walks, or runs out of this lineup though.
Other Cubs News
The Cubs placed middle reliever Koji Uehara on the 10-day disabled list. Uehara is suffering from a strained right neck. The team recalled embattled reliever Justin Grimm to take the bullpen spot from Triple-A Iowa.
So far this year, Uehara has an ERA of 3.55 in 43 relief appearances, surrendering 15 earned runs in 38 innings pitched. He owns a WHIP of 1.105, and has been credited with two saves. He has given up five home runs so far this year. Meanwhile, Grimm’s major league ERA is 5.18, over 36 appearances. He has given up 23 earned runs in 40 innings pitched. He gave up nine home runs, and has a WHIP of 1.275. Grimm showed improvement at Triple-A Iowa, giving up four runs over 9.2 innings, and being credited with three saves.