Chicago Cubs Series Preview: Youth, inexperience big hurdles for Miami Marlins

(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

Heading into the series: Chicago Cubs

Record: 0-0, T-1st in National League Central

Record (Last 10): 0-0

Team ERA: 0.00

Team OBP: .000

Team HR: 0

Team Leader (WAR): N/A

Schwarber, Happ look to be difference-makers in 2018

At this point, you pretty much know you’re going to get MVP-level performances from Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant. But they alone can’t carry the Cubs to a second World Series title in three seasons. For that to happen, other guys need to step up.

That starts with the presumed leadoff hitter Ian Happ. Heading into his first full big league campaign, the switch-hitting outfielder absolutely raked this spring – to the tune of a 1.211 OPS. This ultimately displaced Albert Almora and landed him the leadoff gig. After Dexter Fowler left, the team struggled to find any type of spark atop the lineup – so hopefully Happ fills that void.

Flanking him in the outfield on one side – Kyle Schwarber. He also tore up Cactus League pitching this spring after his dramatic offseason transformation. Now, he needs it to translate to the Show in 2018. If he becomes more of a true hitter instead of a strikeout-homer slugger, as he was in the past, this lineup gets dangerously deep in a hurry.

Projected Opening Day lineup

  1. Ian Happ, CF
  2. Kris Bryant, 3B
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Willson Contreras, C
  5. Kyle Schwarber, LF
  6. Addison Russell, SS
  7. Jason Heyward, RF
  8. Javier Baez, SS
  9. Jon Lester, P

Heh. As if it weren’t already dangerously deep…