During the off-season, when the Braves spoke about their ability to get creative with their lineup, using depth to mix-and-match, the Cubs were a common reference point. Being able to rotate off days throughout the roster would help the Braves preserve some of their most essential lineup pieces and keep them fresh down the stretch, like the Cubs have done in recent years.
Well, it was a nice narrative. But as tonight’s lineup demonstrates - and as most of the recent lineups have demonstrated - Brian Snitker isn’t exactly harnessing his inner Joe Maddon on a regular basis.
In facing Jon Lester, the Braves will stick with their regulars. This is not necessarily a criticism of the offense as a whole, as the unit is capable of doing damage from top to bottom, but the occasional rest day could possibly benefit some of the lineup’s elder statesmen. Not that I’m talking about anyone in particular. Nope, definitely not talking about a Greek right fielder. No, no, no. Not talking about him.
The Braves have fared well against Lester at the plate, but none better than Ozzie Albies, who is 5-for-5 against him in his career.
Meanwhile, notorious tinkerer Joe Maddon will send his Cubs out in this order:
Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Carlos Gonzalez, and Jason Heyward have combined to go 7-for-66 against Teheran, with 20 of those putouts being strikeouts. There is, of course, no guarantee this will continue tonight. When 62.5% of a team’s position players have scuffled in this manner, it means one of two things: you can feel really good about your chances; or, they’re all due to turn things around at the exact same time.
This will be the second Julio Teheran vs. Jon Lester showdown of the 2019 season. As noted in today’s preview, these two teams faced off in April and the Braves emerged victorious; neither starter factored into the decision.
First pitch is slated for 8:05pm ET.