Do you agree with Kris Bryant in the leadoff spot?

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Joe Maddon has a tendency of putting his hottest hitter in the leadoff spot. Frank Thomas and Dontrelle Willis discuss if this is a good strategy.

KEVIN BURKHARDT: Cubs lose tonight, but interesting-- I want to ask you your opinion of this, Frank. So Joe Maddon has done this before. Kris Bryant has been in the leadoff spot now for four or five games, right? He's done it-- he did it with Anthony Rizzo last year. He did it with Kyle Schwarber. He did it with Willson Contreras. He seems to like putting his best hitter at the leadoff spot. Why is he doing that? And do you like it?

- I think it's just to get him to the top of the lineup. He went a whole month without getting a home run-- Kris Bryant did. So he wants to get him fastballs early in the count, early in the game, and get him going. It worked this year with Anthony Rizzo, once again. It's the second time he's done it with Rizzo.


- It got Anthony Rizzo going earlier, so he's doing the same thing with Kris Bryant. He needs his power bat. He needs the big guy going, so put him at the top of the lineup. So start the game, get him more fastballs to hit.

- Also to take the pressure of knocking guys in. After a while, you know you big power guys-- you don't hit a home run for a long time, now you start to stress. Your swing gets bigger. He wants him to stay short and compact, and hopefully, they turn the lineup over so he can get four to five at-bats, so he can get more pitches to hit and hopefully do damage.

KEVIN BURKHARDT: You care as a pitcher where you face him?

- I don't like seeing him as an opposing pitcher in the leadoff spot because I'm still trying to feel for the strike zone, and that's what Rizzo took advantage of-- guys trying to feel the strike zone with their fastball, just getting it over with arm angle, and he did a good job of ambushing us. I don't want to see Big Hurt in that leadoff spot while I'm trying to feel the strike zone out, so I understand the game. But some hitters are not comfortable. Some hitters are not comfortable with that.

- That's one thing I never did-- hit leadoff.

KEVIN BURKHARDT: Would you have liked it?

- Yeah, you stayed hitting, baby.

- 6' 5", 275. Leading off.

- We talked about your slump yesterday. It was 0 for 5.

- I just don't know how that would look.

- It was 0 for 5. Yeah.

- I don't know how it would look.

KEVIN BURKHARDT: Well, you got on base with the best of them.

- Well, I did bat second once. I got four hits, so you never know.

- That's his struggle.

- You never know.

- That's what I mean.

- His struggle's four hits.

- But I was in a slump, put me second, I got four hits.

- Oh, so you got moved there when you were slumping.

- Yeah, Jerry Manuel was messing with me that day. Said, you're swinging like a Judy. I'm going to put you in the two hole. So he kind of got under my skin a little bit. It worked. It got me going.

- I can't stand him.

- The next day, though, I was back in that three hole.

- Train, Frank would slump, but he went 0 for 3 the night before.

- Yeah, that's what I said. I said it yesterday. You're over here, I've been through it. You ain't been through it.

- We all been through it. Baseball's a very humbling ball game. You know that.

- I agree.

- It's a humbling game.

- Joe Maddon likes to change it up. It's interesting, though. Maybe this sparks Bryant and it keeps the Cubs offense-- we'll see how long he goes with it, but he's done it before. Rizzo was a .300 hitter leading off last year, so it has worked for them. But the Cubs do lose it here tonight.