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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?

  • Carew

    Castro/Campana
    DeJesus/Barney
    LaHair
    Sori
    Stewart
    Catcher(not Hill)/DeJesus
    Barney/catcher
    Campana/Hill
    Pitcher

  • Brian

    Castro
    DeJesus
    LaHair
    Stewart
    Soriano
    Cardenas
    Hill
    Campana
    Pitcher

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor

    1. Campana (L) should bat first in the lineup because he is the fastest on the team who is hitting successfully (albeit luck through BABIP or running out bunts). DeJesus clogs up the base path when he gets on ahead of him and has shown us that he cannot steal (0-4).

    2. Castro (R) needs to learn to take pitches, especially with Campana on first. Instruct him to take the first 2 pitches of every at bat, if necessary.

    3. LaHair (L) needs more at bats to make contact with runners on. Moving him up a spot in the order will do this.

    4. Soriano (R) has a habit of either striking out, hitting a high-infield chopper, or placing the ball in the corners. Of course, he can go yard.

    5. DeJesus (L) should walk or make hard contact. He is the perfect player to hit in front of:

    6. Ian Stewart (L) who should hit in this spot until Clevenger comes back healthy.

    7. Barney (R) should hit before our backup catchers.

    8. Unless it is Garza, I will place the pitcher here.

    9. Backup catcher(s).

    • Serio

      Here is the problem with Campana…he sucks…Sorry but when have to bunt every time to get on base you suck

    • Drew7

      “Campana (L) should bat first in the lineup because he is the fastest on the team who is hitting successfully (albeit luck through BABIP or running out bunts). DeJesus clogs up the base path when he gets on ahead of him and has shown us that he cannot steal (0-4).”

      Although I disagree with it, if you want to make an argument for Campana leading off, there are better reasons than you stated.

      You want guys that get on base at the top. As previously stated, speed is not best utlilized in front of your best hitters, but in front of singles hitters who would need the stolen base in order to drive a runner in (Campana being on 2nd instead of 1st is much less important in front of guys that Slug more).

      As for Dejesus clogging bases, having baserunners has never been a problem for any team. The more baserunners you have reach, the much more likely you are to win the game, speed and SB’s be damned.

  • MrCub73

    Talk from Sveum about a lineup shuffle impacting the the top three hitters is coming to light at a very similar time line as the talk of Rizzo be called up in June. If the top three hitters are the ones impacted the most, Rizzo could be inserted in the 3 hole leaving LaHair in the Cleanup spot. This increases the odds of Rizzo getting better pitches to hit and increasing his chances of starting strong once he arrives in Chicago. It makes sense in a lot of ways to move Castro back to lead off with DeJesus in the 2-hole. Castro is running more this season and DeJesus has shown the ability to work the count and take pitches, with the added benefit of DeJesus being left handed and pulling the ball on a hit and run or to move the runner over from 2nd. The downside would be the string of four straight left handed hitters, so could be possible that Castro and DeJesus swap spots depending upon right vs lefty starter. This scenario takes Campana out of the lineup with DeJesus moving to center.

  • HoustonTransplant

    I like a top 3 of Castro, DeJesus, and LaHair. That almost sounds like a group competent to at least THREATEN to score. Therefore, my order would go as follows:

    Castro
    DeJesus
    LaHair
    Soriano
    Stewart
    Barney/2B flavor of the day
    Campana
    Catcher (until Clevenger returns, then swap him with 2B)
    Pitcher

  • ETS

    Campana 9th? Easy there LaRussa.

  • Mike Eberlein

    Soriano out of the clean up spot. MOVE HIM DOWN.

  • npnovak

    LaHair should hit 3rd. He’s shown that he is the Cubs most productive hitter, on top of the fact that no one else on the roster is qualified.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    I’m not sure that moving people around is going to make a huge difference. Right now the Cubs just need a spark. Something that will lift their confidence back up. One big problem is the league has figured out that Castro isn’t an RBI guy and that their is nobody behind LaHair to protect him. We need more than just Rizzo. If you move LaHair to the three hole and bat Rizzo 4th or vice versa there is still nobody behind them in the 5 hole. Stewart isn’t that guy and neither is Soriano. I would take a flyer and bring up Vitters and play him at 3b and bench Stewart. Vitters I believe will more consistent at the plate and he will definitely make better contact. Stewart strikes out too much and is basically a bad luck hitter. Campana for now either needs to bat 1st or 8th. I would like to see Castro back at lead off and Barney hitting behind him. That worked for a while last year. I think Barney plays better in the top of the lineup (at least it seems to me like he does.

    A few other changes.

    1. Castro SS
    2. Barney 2B
    3. LaHair LF
    4. Rizzo 1B
    5. Vitters 3B
    6. Clevinger C
    7. Jackson RF
    8. DeJesus CF / Campana
    9. Garza, Samardja, Dempster, Maholm, Wood

    bench: Castillo, Mather, Cardenas, Stewart, Soriano

    Cast Off’s: Johnson, Bowden, Baker, Soto and Marmol
    ( I try to trade Bowden if not DFA him) Johnson – trade for bp pitcher, Baker for bullpen pitcher and Marmol for bullpen pitcher. I’d do a deep dive and figure out what minor league talent I can include in these trades to bring back the best bullpen guys money can buy. Same with Soto. If Wellington Castillo has trouble coming back from his knee and Soto as well I might have to hang onto Soto for a while longer until the whole catcher position rights itself. If Russo is ready bring him up to the pen. I would like to see Robert Whitenack get ready in Arizona and use him out of the pen.

    I don’t really care to see the same old thing any longer. It’s obvious the majority of Cubs fans don’t either. I think if Ricketts and Epstein want to fill the seats up to a respectable number they need to bring up the players that everyone wants to see. People will come out and watch the Jackson, Rizzo and Vitters. *** I would have Junior Lake playing 2b at AA Tennessee and as soon as he is hitting a little bit bring him up to play with Castro. I would then send Cardenas down and make Barney the utility infielder *** We have absolutely nothing to lose by doing any of this and everything to gain. At some point you have to put the best athletes you have available on the field. I don’t care about protecting $$ so you can save a little when guys are arbitration eligible. Who knows if they will even be here then. We don’t have any sure things so why act like that’s the case. Old Man Ricketts has plenty of money anyway. SPEND IT OR YOUR STADIUM IS GOING TO BE COMPLETELY EMPTY BY THE END OF JULY.

    • Pat

      Vitters has an OPS of .687 in a hitters league in the minors. I don’t how that would be an improvement. Also, you just can’t dump half your team six weeks into the season. Nobody is going to sign with a team that does that.

  • Nick Nesler

    Not opposed to changes but dejesus needs to lead off. I’m pretty sure I heard that his struggles with Oakland were attributed to them hitting him down in the order. He is a proven lead off hitter and is doing his job. I also like campana in the 9 hole I like the larussa rule.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    HERE’S AND IDEA……..

    MONSTER & CAREER BUILDER

    HELP WANTED: BASEBALL PLAYERS WANTED AT ANY LEVEL…. HOLDING OPEN TRYOUTS AT WRIGLEY FIELD… IF YOU WERE GOOD ENOUGH TO PLAY IN COLLEGE OR WERE A REGIONAL ALLSTAR OR ABOVE IN HIGH SCHOOL PLEASE APPLY. IF YOU CAN PITCH AND THROW OVER 92 MPH YOU CAN START IMMEDIATELY NO TRYOUT NECESSARY.

  • LWeb23

    I completely agree with Campana 9th, i was thinking the same thing before you mentioned it. As you mentioned he doesn’t well with runners on, so why not bat him after the pitcher, and before the leadoff guy? I really doubt Sveum would do this, but never say never.

    • calicubsfan007

      Some teams put fast guys at bottom of the order. They consider them the “other leadoff guy”. Could work.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        In many (if not most) cases, it is something of an “old school” vs. “new school” difference.  Fast guys at the bottom of the order tend to be low OBP guys with managers who value OBP in the leadoff spot (NS) instead of speed (OS).  Also, speed itself generates more runs in front of bad hitters than it does in front of good ones: that is, a stolen base from the #7 or #8 hitter has a greater probability of generating a run that otherwise would not have scored than a stolen base in front of the #2-#5 hitters (on most teams).

        Campana actually represents a good case.  He’s scored quite a few runs after stolen bases that would have scored anyway had he stayed put on first. In fact, I noticed only one SB that led to a run that would not have scored had he stayed put.

  • Jeremy

    I really don’t think the lineup is the problem. It’s the fact that outside of maybe one or two guys, there is not patience. Everyone is looking to swing at the first pitch they see. Guys like Castro, LaHair etc. need to work the pitchers and looks for there pitch to drive. Castro would be hitting much better if he could just display some patience and not swing at every outside slider. Since it looks like Sveum will change the lineup, I would like to see this,

    Campana
    Castro
    LaHair
    Soriano
    Dejesus
    Stewart
    Catcher (whoever we decide to play for the day)
    Barney

  • Deez

    Capana
    Castro
    LeHair
    Soriano
    DeJesus
    Barney
    Stewart
    Whatever Catcher
    Pitcher

    Campana gets this try at the Leadoff spot to see if he can produce + Soriano also gets a chance to leadoff an inning depending on what happens. I think DeJesus would drive in more runs but not really produce the Power numbers. Stewart’s not producing but you can’t really neglect him in the #7 sopt, he’d probably walk more because who wouldn’t want to pitch to our Catchers. This gives us a constant left-Right switch thoughout our order.

  • Nick Nesler

    No change in the top of lineup tonight. Glad to see Cardenas get another start.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    I’m all for a broader approach with more changes just because we don’t have a prayer the way the roster is configured. We can continue to with the status quo which is we suck or make some changes and see if we still suck. What do you have to lose at this point. Nothing…..
    If we bring up Vitters, Jackson and Rizzo and even Junior Lake they all have options. Half these guys on the 25 man roster aren’t even players that other teams would even want if they were desperate. Nobody will take Soriano, Soto, Johnson, Stewart, Bowden and Marmol. Either because they have bad contracts or they just aren’t any good. Let’s face it folks outside of our starting pitching 1 – 4, Castro, Clevinger, Castillo and LaHair we aren’t very good at all. The record speaks for itself. You can wish in one hand and sh*t in the other and see which one you fill up first. I want Theo to just bring up what talent we do have and let them play. I won’t complain about them as long as they give 110% effort and it shows on the field. I am not a Stewart fan. He doesn’t produce and he strikes out too much. I don’t care whether he has bad luck hitting the ball right at people. He doesn’t produce period. Put him on the bench and let Vitters play and see what he does. It won’t hurt a thing. Play Rizzo and Jackson and just let them grow up at the Big Leagues. It doesn’t matter at this point. Because we are so far below .500 they will never get to that mark this season.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    Soriano has bad knee’s and they aren’t going to get better. So let LaHair take over in Left.
    He can DH and be a pinch hitter when we need one. He might be productive in that role.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    I was going to take the family to Chicago for a series soon but now I’m not. I’m paying big money for 8 seats just to watch this team configured as it is. When there are wholesale changes I’ll re-think how I spend my hard earned money. It seems that most people think the same way as the stands look like a Cincinnati Reds home game. Half Full. I can’t blame anybody who refuses to pay exorbitant prices to sit and watch this team as it is. I think people will get behind Rizzo, Jackson and Vitters along with LaHair and Castro. You can Moneyball Sabermatic this team as it is all you want. The record stands for itself and at this point we won’t win 55 games. So if we are going to be less than a 60 game winner let’s watch all our prospects play instead of the waiver wire rejects.

  • Joe

    Anybody still ragging on Tony Campana? Dude just took a walk and promptly stole second and third. 12 SBs, 2 CS, in 82 ABs. That’s top 10 in the major leagues, with less than 2/3 of the other players. He’s got to go leadoff — he may not hit with power, but he turns singles & walks into extra bases at a 15% clip. And meantime, he’s hitting over .300!

    I’m not saying it lasts. But he’s got as hot a hand as just about anybody on this team right now.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Yeah, but Campana’s steals are even more gratuitous than the sexposition in Game of Thrones.  (Those at least advance a narrative….) I mean, stealing 3rd with 2 out and a homer hitter up in a bandbox park?  That’s just silly.

      Also, his BA is very misleading.  The official scorers give him sacrifices on all of his bunts with men on base that result in outs, even though he has been bunting for hits in all of those cases.

      • CastrotoBarneytoLaHair

        Agree. I love his speed, but that is his only real asset. I said it before…he would be our Dave Roberts, if we ever are afforded that opportunity…

  • MichCubFan

    I think it might be time to send Castro a message and move him down in the order. Something has to be done about is hitting approach. Then Mather needs more PT.
    1. DeJesus RF
    2. Mather /Campana CF
    3. LaHair 1B
    4. Soriano LF
    5. Stewart /Mather 3B
    6. Castro SS
    7. Clevenger C (once he’s back)
    8. Barney 2B
    I know Stewart hitting 5th might not be optimal right now, but maybe it will get him going a bit. And once Castro shows some imrovement i would move back to the lineup we have been using lately….we just need some guys to start getting hot…

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