FINALLY! Chicago Cubs fans have been chiming for manager David Ross to move rookie phenom Seiya Suzuki up the lineup. Well, on Tuesday, Ross has Suzuki hitting second for the first time all season. The highest prior to Tuesday Suzuki hit in the lineup was fourth, which was ironically on Monday.
In addition to Suzuki’s presence atop the lineup, Jonathan Villar will receive a shot as the leadoff man against the Rays. Manning third base in place of Patrick Wisdom, Villar has been hot with the bat through the early portion of the season. Now, he has a chance to set the tone for Chicago on Tuesday night.
Villar is currently slashing .450/.500/.550 in only six games this season, but has made a major impact when in the lineup. During the Colorado series, he tallied eight hits in three games. In addition, his third game of that series was a four-hit, three-RBI performance for the 30-year-old switch hitter. He added another RBI in the second game as well.
Although Villar isn’t the household name that gets people excited during an offseason, he still has plenty of value to the Cubs. He plays third base, shortstop, and second base, and has shown that his bat can be reliable. Over his career, Villar has a respectable .259/.327/.404 slashline and brings an aggressive baserunner on the base paths. With the 30-year-old being one of the team’s hottest hitters, giving him a shot atop the lineup with Suzuki is a no brainer.
Where do we begin with Seiya Suzuki? Fresh off a NL Player of the Week nod, Suzuki is one of the hottest hitters in baseball. He is slashing .429/.564/.929 in 10 games and is showing off incredible plate discipline as well. He has the best swings-to-hit ratio in the major leagues and is showing he is professional hitter despite technically being a rookie. Suzuki has more total walks (9 BB, 2 IBB) than strikeouts (9) and has added four home runs and 11 RBIs. To say Suzuki isn’t a star is simply false.
Now, after hitting majority of the season in the five- or six-spot, Suzuki now gets a chance in the two-spot. As baseball has evolved, experts believe the two-hole is where a team’s best hitter should hit on a regular basis. Now, Suzuki has a chance to assume that role and get as many plate appearances as possible. The more pitches he sees, the more good things that will likely happen for the Cubs.
What’s On Tap Next?
The Cubs face the Rays in game two of three on Tuesday night. Justin Steele takes the mound for the Cubs and Matt Wisler is on the bump for Tampa Bay. The 29-year-old righty has appeared in five games with a 1.93 ERA this season. On the flip side, Steele also a 1.93 ERA through two starts. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. CDT.
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