The Cubs have been searching for a consistent answer at the leadoff spot since Dexter Fowler left town after the 2016 World Series.
Anthony Rizzo may be the surprising and unconventional answer for the 2018 squad.
The Cubs have used 8 different leadoff hitters this season, with Albert Almora Jr. (39 starts), Ben Zobrist (26 starts) and Ian Happ (12 starts) leading the way.
Rizzo has made 11 starts in a row at the position and what was formerly a temporary solution may be morphing into a long-term fix.
So much so that Joe Maddon is actually altering the rest of the lineup to give Rizzo more RBI opportunities atop the lineup, inserting the pitcher into the No. 8 spot in the order Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon, inserting Victor Caratini and Tommy La Stella into the 9-hole.
"I've been wanting to do it; I've been thinking about doing it," Maddon said. "We came off the break and the St. Louis series, I was thinkin', thinkin', thinkin', but I said [Tuesday], let's give it a go.
"If we're gonna look at this as a long-term situation, I think it'd be wise to try to get somebody in front of him."
Maddon liked the idea of Caratini hitting 9th Tuesday because of the backup catcher's strong on-base skills, but the Cubs manager floated the idea of Addison Russell or others hitting in that spot, as well. The lineup is stacked with high on-base guys, so there really are plenty of options.
"Honestly, let's just see how this plays out," Maddon said. "I'm gonna look at it, see what it feels like and maybe make it something more consistent or maybe you want to eventually move Rizz out of there.
"This is a short-term experiment right now. It may be a long-term experiment, but for right now, it's short-term."
The Cubs have scored just 2 runs in 18 innings against Arizona Diamondbacks pitching to begin this week's 4-game series at Wrigley Field, but before that, Rizzo in the leadoff spot had led to a 6-2 record dating back to the last series in San Diego before the break.
Rizzo is hitting .447 with a .560 on-base percentage and 1.271 OPS out of the leadoff spot entering play Wednesday.
Maddon called it a backwards lineup, with the Cubs' best two run producers — Rizzo and Kris Bryant — hitting atop the order, setting the table instead of in the middle of the lineup.
The Cubs' success with Rizzo in the leadoff spot and not hitting 3 or 4 speaks more to the depth of this lineup up and down the order as well as the development of guys like Javy Baez and Jason Heyward's turnaround offensive season.
With Rizzo leading off, Baez has most often hit cleanup while Heyward has settled into the 3-hole.
Even with Baez out of the lineup Wednesday with a knee issue and Bryant out Tuesday/Wednesday with lingering shoulder soreness, Rizzo was still there in the leadoff spot.
"Among all the group, Javy makes it possible," Maddon said. "I think that's A. Then B, Jason makes it possible. Of course, Schwarber. But I think Javy is the linchpin of even being able to think like that.
"The whole group's been more productive in the sense that the strikeouts have come down, the ball's been in play more, the at-bats have been better in crucial situations, we've been scoring some runs.
"What I've done in the past with Rizzo [leading off] is very temporary — get him going, get us going, then get him out of there. Because he needed to be out of there. Right now, he doesn't have to be out of there and I'm kind of liking how the beginning part of the game is shaping up, so let's just see and read the tea leaves as we go along. I have not committed to it totally yet, but I kinda like what I'm seeing."