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Chicago Cubs: The most effective lineup they have isn’t being used

jfrancis
Apr 4, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward (22) hits a one run single off of St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (50) during the fourth inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 4, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward (22) hits a one run single off of St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (50) during the fourth inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports /

Now batting seventh…

In the Chicago Cubs lineup, there is no more relaxed position than the seventh spot in the order. Why? Because either you extend the inning or you end it. Either way, it is probably fine. With the pitcher batting eighth in Joe Maddon‘s order, whoever bats seventh can take a few chances. If the bases are occupied, then trying to drive the ball is advisable. Bases empty? Taking a chance on either a home run or extending a hit into extra bases is fine. And, since the catcher has not appeared here, this is a great spot.

This spot fits Willson Contreras and Miguel Montero. Both of them can drive the ball, and both can swing free a bit. But, the pressure to do one thing or another is off their shoulders simply because the pitcher is next. Whether ending an inning or continue the rally, the odds of out number three coming next are high. That simply resets the lineup for the next inning.

The best thing about Contreras here is that he takes chances with the bat and on the bases. Sometimes it works out well. Other times not. And, for Montero, he can pull the ball up the right field line and push runners across. He may not be as fast as Contreras, but his intelligence rarely runs the Cubs out of an inning. Either way, this is where they belong.

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