The Cubs have lost six in a row, and have scored just 21 runs in that stretch (most of which came in meaningless 9th inning rallies). When a team’s offense is scuffling this badly, there’s usually little you can do but ride it out, and hope the law of averages evens things out.
The problem for the Cubs? Their offense isn’t particularly good, and the recent slump might actually *BE* the law of averages evening things out. So, if the Cubs are hoping to score more runs, and aren’t planning to add another bat out of nowhere (at least not for a few weeks), they’ll have to play around at the margins.
And that means batting order changes.
“I might think about changing things at the top of the order,” Dale Sveum said to reporters yesterday. “It’s not that anybody is doing anything wrong but just to change something because we aren’t producing any runs that way. We might change things up there.
“We need some production,” Sveum added, “and the bottom line is two months into the season, we have to start producing or we’re going to have to start making some changes.”
At a quick glance, things look OK in the top three in the lineup. David DeJesus has a .360 OBP, Tony Campana has a .356 OBP, and Starlin Castro is hitting .313. But if you dig a little deeper, you see two guys who are regressing badly in Campana and Castro, and who each seem miscast in their present role. Campana doesn’t hit well with runners on in front of him, and Castro presses whenever there are ducks on the pond.
Castro’s slump has been the deepest and most disconcerting, as his season line is down to .313/.324/.422. That OBP, especially given the batting average, is unacceptable.
What might Sveum do? Well, given Castro’s stats, it wouldn’t make much sense to move him up in the order, but batting first or second is certainly where he had the most success last year. And it would be nice to see Bryan LaHair getting at bats in the first inning, rather than repeatedly leading off innings while batting fourth.
For my part, I’d like to see what Castro could do batting second, with LaHair batting third. DeJesus can stay in leadoff, and Campana can bat down in the order (in fact, I might even say something insane like … bat Campana 9th). As for what Sveum will actually do, if he reshuffles only the guys in the top three, I wonder if he might consider leading off with Campana, batting Castro second, and then batting DeJesus third.
What are your thoughts on a reconfigured lineup? What would you like to see, and what do you think Sveum might do?