Brewers pitcher Chase Anderson: ‘Zobrist makes that team so much better'

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It's no secret that the Cubs missed Ben Zobrist during his four-month stay on the restricted list while tending to a personal matter. In addition to his clubhouse leadership, the 38-year-old provides the Cubs with a professional at-bat, a keen eye at the plate and a contact-oriented approach. 

Although Zobrist has played in just two games since returning to the Cubs, the team has felt his impact. The same can be said about Brewers starting pitcher Chase Anderson, who started Thursday's game for the Brewers — a 10-5 Cubs win. After the game, Anderson offered praise to Zobrist for what the latter brings to the Cubs lineup.

"The Cubs just have changed their attack a little bit," Anderson said. "Their lineup is more balanced than I've seen in recent years, even maybe better than 2016, when they won the World Series."

"They've got left, right, left, right, left, right. They play the matchups really well and Zobrist makes that team so much better. Just bringing his presence to the top of the lineup, it changes their dynamic a little bit.

"I think with him working counts and getting on base so many times tonight, it puts pressure on the defense. You've got to make pitches in tough spots. Unfortunately, we couldn't do that tonight in certain spots."

Anderson — who allowed two runs in four innings — was hit with a chunk of Zobrist's attack. Zobrist finished the night 3-for-3 with two walks, helping start offensive rallies for the Cubs in the first, fifth and sixth innings. He has now reached base in seven of his nine plate appearances since returning to the Cubs (4-for-6, three walks).

The Cubs have struggled to find a successful leadoff hitter this season, as their No. 1 hitters hold a combined .203/.283/.376 slash line. Although the sample size is small, Zobrist's return should continue to bring better results to that spot in the lineup, at the very least bringing a tough at-bat each time out.

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