(CBS) Cubs manager Joe Maddon’s lineup against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday evening will feature just one left-handed hitter, first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward won’t be starting against Arizona left-hander Patrick Corbin, with Maddon playing the matchups of right-handed hitters against a lefty with quality stuff. With a deep roster, there’s a balance that Maddon faces each day in making out his Cubs lineup.
Maddon continues to refrain from putting Schwarber, who’s hitting .187 on the season and .164 against lefties, into bad matchups – similar to his usage of Heyward. The hope is for that to change as Schwwarber grows at the plate. Then there’s the reality of Maddon attempting to use his full arsenal a fair amount.
In his regular Tuesday appearance with the Spiegel & Parkins Show, Maddon explained his thoughts on how to utilize Schwarber.
“Right now, we just have so many guys to employ on a daily basis,” Maddon said. “You got to get them out there. Given a different situation or different roster, you shoot Kyle out there. You might see that happen a lot sooner against lefties. But for right now, the way we’re built, it just doesn’t make sense to try to force him into that situation, and we won’t. But eventually, he will get that opportunity.
“I have so much confidence in him.”
Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer is in agreement with Maddon, saying on the Mully & Hanley Show on Tuesday morning that the team hopes Schwarber can be an everyday player against lefties. Ultimately, it’s the call of Maddon making out the lineup.
For Maddon, the constant juggle of depth is a good problem to have. It has been beneficial for 36-year-old veteran infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist, who’s getting more time off this season.
Zobrist is back to full health after a lingering wrist injury hampered the early part of his season. Now, Maddon is using that roster depth to allow Zobrist appropriate rest.
The hope is for Zobrist to have a major impact on the remainder of this Cubs season.
“To this point, he’s had a couple bumps and bruises, and we’ve also given him days off, which I thought was vital,” Maddon said of Zobrist. “We want to keep him crisp. If he’s rested and healthy, he is going to perform really well coming down the home stretch.
“He’s moving around really well. He’ll tell you he feels really good. Look for him to have a big impact on the rest of our season.”
Listen to Maddon’s full interview below.