Chicago Cubs: Is Joe Maddon’s lineup Jenga a good thing?

(Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs: Bote might be helped and hurt by pre-set lineups

The negatives are a little less obvious and perhaps even a bit harder to quantify. The most divisive and emotional response seems to be that players who are “hot” might sit the day after they’ve hit two home runs, or in the middle of a tear. It limits the flexibility and gut feeling a manager might have after watching a player, or the way a team has decided to attack said player in a series. It also doesn’t always account for when players actually need rest, or when a minor injury may keep a player from sitting because he knows it’s his day to play.

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The most sensible argument for not setting lineups before a series is also the one that is the most contentious- the idea of a player being “hot.” (case in point- Bote being inserted into the lineup today at the behest of the vets on the team)

While I personally believe it is a legitimate thing, not everyone does. As anyone who ever played the game at a high level will tell you, the swings in baseball can be manic in nature. The slumps and the hot-streaks can often undulate wildly for certain players- just check out Anthony Rizzo‘s 2018 season for starters.

There are times where the baseball looks like a beach ball, and there are times the thing looks like a pea. Regardless of facing a righty or a lefty. Regardless of how well you’ve seen the day’s starting pitcher in the past.

The problem is- it’s tough to prove that Player A (who is hot but doesn’t usually hit this pitcher well) will be better on a given day than Player B (who is cold but historically mashes against that pitcher). It’s a cyclical and perpetual argument that is at the crux of this debate over lineup construction.

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