Thursday, April 18, 2024

Craig Counsell’s Opening Day Cubs Lineup Has a Twist


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Christopher Morel is going to be starting at third base plenty of times this year, at least that’s the expectation for the first few months of the season. However, Morel isn’t the starting third baseman on Opening Day, as new Cubs manager Craig Counsell had a twist in his starting lineup behind left-handed pitcher Justin Steele.

Nick Madrigal, who missed most of spring training because of a hamstring injury, returned to game action in the last week and was healthy enough to make the 26-man roster to begin the season. The infielder is now getting the starting nod at third base and will bat eighth. Meanwhile, Morel is the cleanup hitter, starting as the designated hitter.

I’ve said for a few years now and Madrigal didn’t do much to change my mind in 2023, but I just don’t expect much offense from him. So, I’m not thrilled that he’s starting, but I also can’t deny that he does provide the best defensive option at third base right now for the Cubs.

Steele, who is making his first Opening Day start after his All-Star 2023 season, isn’t a huge strikeout pitcher and has a 50% ground ball rate in his career. So, for that reason alone, you imagine that Counsell wanted the best defensive option at third behind Steele.

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So, I’ll put down my pitchfork and instead focus on the top of the batting order. I love Ian Happ as the leadoff man and think Seiya Suzuki will continue to thrive as the two-hitter. Maybe Nico Hoerner is too low, but I like the versatility and power threat in the middle of the order.

What do you think about Madrigal starting on Opening Day? Overall thoughts on the lineup? Let us know in the comments!

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Mar 28, 2024 6:07 pm

Brewzer- First I’m questioning the name? What’s going on there man? Otherwise yes we do have a 3b coming very soon in my main man Matt Shaw!!!! I don’t want anyone blocking him!!!

Mar 28, 2024 4:41 pm

This is on Jed Hoyer being a dolt. He seems to be the only one who doesn’t realize the Cubs don’t have a third basemen on the roster (no, Morel is not an every day third basemen).

Mar 28, 2024 4:03 pm

It’s very interesting he’s not going with morel at 3b. Must not of liked what he saw in ST? GO CUBS!! Bring the W!!

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