Monday, June 29, 2009

I Am Lou Piniella

The Cubs lineup for tonight's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates and their lefty Zach Duke has been released (thanks to cst_cubs for the Tweet update). Here's what Lou decided upon:

Soriano LF
Theriot SS
Lee 1b
Fox 3b
Soto C
Bradley RF
Freel CF
Blanco 2b
Harden P

Most notable among the changes (well, okay, let's face it, there's only one change) is that Uncle Milty is hitting 6th. Thank goodness he's dropped out of the third spot, where *gasp* he's actually hitting .299 this year, with a .378 OBP and slugging .414. So . . . should we really be thanking goodness?

There are still a lot of changes that could/should be made to this lineup, and if I were Lou, it would go a little something like this:

vs. lefties
1. Theriot, SS. Normally, I don't mind Fonzy in the leadoff spot, but at this point, he needs to be moved. Could his insecurities really make him play any worse than what we've seen for the last month?
2. Bradley, RF. Yeah, he's hitting .315 vs. the lefties, but his slugging pct. is still not what it should be. He belongs in the 2 spot facing south paws, and he hasn't hit there a single time all year.
3. Lee, 1b. Against lefties, Derrek has a good average (.310) a great OBP (.455) and just okay SLG (.429). He has spent most of the year in the cleanup spot, but I far prefer him in the 3-hole.
4. Fox, 3b. This order so far is really destroying the R-L-R-L pattern. This is me caring. Fox is a natural cleanup hitter. Let's face reality, shall we?
5. Soriano, LF. Welcome to where you belong right now, Sori.
6. Soto, C. I don't like putting any more pressure on Soto than is necessary, and I really like him in the 6-slot, especially in a spot where he can protect Soriano.
7. Fukudome, CF. When Ryan Freel is platooning with your mega-million import, you have problems. That argument aside, I think Fukudome needs to play every day, resting him only when a slump starts to appear. He's a better center fielder, a better hitter vs. lefties (.200 vs. .133 . . . ouch!), and gives the team a better chance to win.
8. Blanco, 2b. Sorry, Fontenot, but Blanco's glove is indispensable at this point.
9. Pitcher. Didn't have to think terribly hard on this one.

vs. righties
1. Fukudome, CF. What can I say? I like Fuk in the leadoff spot with an approach specifically geared toward getting on base, which we know he can do.
2. Theriot, SS. I'm tempted to move him down, but I like the energy he brings.
3. Lee, 1b. I'd also like Lee in the 2-spot, and would test that if this arrangement didn't work out.
4. Fox, 3b. Yeah.
5. Hoffpauir, RF. We wanted a power-hitting left-handed bat. Hoff slugs .500 against RHP's. I'll take it.
6. Soriano, LF. Against righties, Sori has to prove that he belongs higher than this.
7. Soto, C.
8. Fontenot, 2b. Hate to bench Blanco, and wouldn't every time, but Font has to get some ABs to stay fresh . . . and he brings more power than Blanco ever will.
9. Pitcher

So . . . what do you think? What would you do if you were Lou?

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