Ross makes lineup changes with limited success in Monday's Cubs' victory
The Cubs lineup included some interesting changes Monday. Miles Mastrobuoni led off, with Nico Hoerner moving down to second in the order and Dansby Swanson to fifth.
Patrick Wisdom didn't start a day after hitting 2 home runs and Edwin Rios got the nod at DH. It all worked out fine, since the Cubs beat Tampa Bay 1-0, but they collected just 3 hits.
Manager David Ross explained the changes before the game. He wants to give Rios more of a chance to contribute and is still wary of getting the right pitcher matchups for Wisdom, preferably someone who works low in the strike zone.
"Rios, getting him in there consistently may be just something to mix things up a little bit," Ross said. "Just getting some more power in there, we seem to kind of thrive with the homer and the guys that are slugging. We're not really coming through with the base-hit stuff.
"Moving Dansby down was something I've been thinking about for a little bit, just trying to get somebody in that five-hole to come through with some clutch hits."
The Cubs were facing rookie Taj Bradley, a right-hander making his sixth career start. Heading into the game, right-handed hitters were hitting .304 against him, while lefties struggled. Yet the Cubs had six left-handed batters in the starting lineup.
The three singles collected by the Cubs on Monday were by the three right-handed hitters. Rios struck out twice, then Wisdom pinch-hit and lined out.
"My guys would scream, 'Small-sample police.' The sirens would go off, right?" Ross joked, referring to Bradley's short time in the majors. "It's a scattered profile. Plate-discipline guys, (Mike) Tauchman and Mastrobuoni, are in there."
Stroman's take on Tampa:
Heading into Monday's action, Marcus Stroman had more starts against Tampa Bay than any team besides the Yankees, and had gone 5-8 with a 5.04 ERA against the Rays.
"The Rays are incredible. I've struggled against the Rays my entire career," Stroman said. "Their lineups are always scrappy, you feel like they're on everything.
"I was in the AL East for a while (with Toronto), and I used to hate facing the Rays just because you're going to be in for a long day the way they battle. They don't give away ABs away, they can run, they're scrappy."
Mike Tauchman drove in the Cubs' lone run Monday with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning. Manufacturing runs hasn't been a Cubs strength this season, so it was an important moment.
"In that situation, try not to do too much," Tauchman said. "Got spin up in the zone and got enough of it to drive him (Seiya Suzuki) in with a sac fly."
The Fremd High School graduate has started every game in center field during this homestand and fared well, hitting .318 with 2 RBI.