The Chicago Cubs have decided to do the baseball equivalent of taking the cartridge out and blowing on it to see if it can work better in the future. With Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo onto brighter pastures, the best the franchise can hope for over the final 3/10ths of the season is to flirt with .500 and give fans something to look forward to besides the ability to visit a sportsbook at Wrigley Field. Like all true professionals, they'll give an honest effort even if the requisite pieces to compete every single day are not on-site. Lineups bit a look jarring. Like today's against the crosstown White Sox out at Wrigley.
1. Rafael Ortega CF
2. Matt Duffy 3B
3. Ian Happ LF
4. Frank Schwindel 1B
5. Greg Deichmann RF
6. Andrew Romine SS
7. Robinson Chirinos C
8. Sergio Alcantara 2B
9. Kyle Hendricks P
Just wanted to get that on the record. The official record. My days watching baseball like an obsessed and hungry hawk are a bit removed but it's still rare that a lineup features more than one player I am completely unfamiliar with. Even rarer is two. This one has at least two.
Ortega has been good in 127 at-bats and has a great story, first making the majors in 2012 then not returning until 2015 then failing to make the bigs in 2017 and last year. Duffy and Happ are more recognizable to the casual fan. Schwidel is playing in his 19th career game and Deichmann in his second. Romine we know as a former Tigers legend and Chirinos is in his 10th year. Alcanatara is best and only known for hitting a homer in his first MLB at-bat last summer.
Just extremely bleak stuff up and down this lineup card. If you'd shown this to a Cubs supporter a few months ago, they would shudder to know things have gotten so dire. And how fast the game moves even as the good timed fade. The stages of building, deconstructing and building a team can swing wildly.
To this point, these nine have failed to tally a run and trail the visitors from the South Side, 2-0, in the sixth inning.