In my mind, the whole crosstown rivalry, BP Cup, whatever else piece of tonight’s game just took a HUGE backseat to the lineup (and it had already taken a backseat to Ryan Dempster hitting the DL).

Bryan LaHair is starting in right field, and David DeJesus is playing center field.

The implications of that long-awaited move are many, but here’s the biggest one: the Cubs are telling the rest of the baseball world that they are fully prepared to play LaHair in right field when Anthony Rizzo is ready to be called up. Why are they telling the baseball world this? Because if they don’t, teams can continue to call the Cubs’ bluff in trade talks about Alfonso Soriano. Until the Cubs found a non-first-base spot for LaHair, they were in a real bind with when they could call up Rizzo – namely, they had to move Soriano before they could call up Rizzo (so that LaHair could play in left field). In other words, if you’re the Orioles, and the Cubs are trying to sell you on Soriano, it was very easy to respond: “Yeah, but in a couple weeks, when you call up Rizzo, you’re going to have to figure out what to do with Soriano anyway. We’ll take our chances that your price goes way down.” The Cubs have thrown down the glove and said, “You don’t want to take on any of Soriano’s salary? Fine. We’ll keep him. See, we can work this just fine.”

And you know how I know all of this is true? Tony Campana is starting in left field. If this wasn’t about showing the world that LaHair can play right (and, instead, was just about getting him into the outfield), Campana would have been in his usual center, DeJesus in his usual right, and LaHair in left. I’m not being dramatic here, people: this is a clear, aggressive statement by the Cubs that they can go Soriano-DeJesus-LaHair in the outfield if they have to. (And, to be clear, the Cubs probably also want to get some game looks at LaHair in the outfield in advance of actually calling up Rizzo.)

Whew. Busy, busy afternoon.

Playing LaHair in right field also allows the Cubs to demonstrate a couple other things, namely that (hopefully) LaHair can handle right field, and that (hopefully) DeJesus can handle center field. Should the Cubs look to deal those two in July, increasing their perceived versatility can’t hurt.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (22-44) at Chicago White Sox (35-31), 7:10pm CT on WCIU.

Game Thread and Series Preview

The Game Thread lives here. You should participate in the madness. And, of course, for those who aren’t into message board-style game threads, please feel free to use the comments on this post for your in-game commentary/outbursts.

The Series Preview for this series lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Matt Garza (2-5, 4.04 ERA, 3.50 xFIP)


Zach Stewart (1-1, 5.18 ERA, 3.95 xFIP)

Chicago White Sox Lineup

1. Alejandro De Aza, CF

2. Gordon Beckham, 2B

3. Adam Dunn, DH

4. Paul Konerko, 1B

5. Alex Rios, RF

6. A.J. Pierzynski, C

7. Dayan Viciedo, LF

8. Alexei Ramirez, SS

9. Orlando Hudson, C

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. David DeJesus, CF

2. Starlin Castro, SS

3. Bryan LaHair, RF(!!!)

4. Alfonso Soriano, DH

5. Steve Clevenger, 1B

6. Darwin Barney, 2B

7. Luis Valbuena, 3B

8. Geovany Soto, C

9. Tony Campana, LF

  • Jp

    Do you think this year’s 2012 Chicago Cubs will be the worst team in MLB in 2012 baseball? How many games do you think this year’s 2012 Chicago Cubs will win this year in MLb in 2012?

    • ProfessorCub

      Shelby! I’ve missed you!

    • Brett

      You’re killing me.

      • Cubs Dude

        Ha.. Is this that Shelby Mengy person… Do you think the Chicago Cubs are going to sign their first round draft pick?? Weird dude or dudette..

        • Jp

          No but just seeing if she was still out there, I woke my wife up laughing so hard last night over that. I’m easily amused, on a more serious note Garza is looking lights out… As long as he doesn’t have to field any bunts.

          • Cubs Dude

            Gotcha.. Good stuff! Mengy doesn’t mess around with his/her inquires.

  • josh

    I was thinking LaHair was on the bench to give Baker an audition to start at 1st til Rizzo got the call. LaHair in RF threw my theory off a little

  • Kyle

    Luis Valbuena, welcome to your new home in the Bad Player Becomes Beloved By Having a Brief Hot Streak to Start Cubs Career penthouse. Also known as the Neifi Perez suite.

    • GoldFinch

      Soto is picking up right where he left off. The dog house. Valbuena is posting good numbers. So much better to watch than the “Stew” project at 3rd.

      • Cubs Dude

        Does anyone, else think Soto has a completely different stance? Just curious..

  • Cubs Dude

    Can you imagine if the White Sox don’t make the playoffs this year? They have several terrible (Soriano style) contracts, the worse farm system in baseball BY FAR, And turd announcers, good luck guys..

  • Jp

    Get your Soriano’s while they’re hot!

    • theNOOGE

      I love my some campy but when soriano is hot he’s damn good, you don’t have to hustle to first when the ball is in the bleachers.

      • theNOOGE

        My apologies that reply was meant for josh.

      • Drew7

        I couldnt have possibly included more sarcasm in my post

  • Josh

    Despite all the hate and trade rumors, Soriano has been having a very nice season for us. He is currently on pace for 31 HR and 102 RBI

    • Drew7

      But he doesnt hustle…put him on the bench and play Campana, Hes scrappy. (*oozes sarcasm*)

      There, thats better

    • Ted

      Oh definitely. I don’t understand why there’s not more buzz around AL teams that could use a bat like that, especially when it’s pretty clear CHC would eat most of the salary. If it wasn’t “Alfonso Soriano” I feel like teams in need of a DH would be more than happy to get that kind of bat in their lineup.

  • GoldFinch

    This is another thing that irks me about Sveum. 1st and 2nd nobody out and LaHair at the plate. Everybody and their granparents “know” LaHairs hitting percentage against lefties. Sveum had a bunting tournament contest in the spring. Why in the world would you not bunt the runs over to 2nd and 3rd in that situation? Sweum is really showing how much of an “amatuer” he is in the last few days, IMO.

    • Drew7

      Are you doing that on purpose?

      Anyway, bunt with LaHair?

    • Cooper R

      He’s definitely kidding

      • Drew7

        I doubt it, Cooper

  • Crazyhorse bye stew

    BYE BYE Stewart.

    • Josh

      Yeah I agree. It looks pretty safe to say Valbuena has the 3B spot on lockdown for awhile. Hopefully he can keep up the good work unitl someone like Vitters or Baez can take over. However we are still looking at another couple of seasons for Baez so that is unlikely

    • GoldFinch

      I’m gonna love not getting “Stewed” anymore!

    • MichCubFan

      There is no reason to be reactionary here, though. Valbuena is getting a good chance here to show what he can do while Stewart rests his sore wrist.

      Once Stewart comes back then a decision can be made.

      I am excited about how Valbuena is looking, though. And he takes walks…Neifi Perez he is not.

  • White flag

    Careful… People get upset when you suggest bunting with a “superstar,” might not be a bad idea. I understand your thought process there. But if he would have struck out bunting there would have been some serious grief for sveum. You can win every call. And Lahair did just hit a homer.

    • Drew7

      Superstar has nothing to do with it. I think its crazy to give away outs with any position players, especially guys in the middle of your order.

      • GoldFinch

        Look at the stats. Chances were LaHair had a better chance with a bunt at moving the runners over! That’s fact.

        • Cooper R

          Who says LaHair can even bunt? You don’t bunt with your 3 hitter with 2 runners on and 0 out. Especially after he just went yard. Why play for 2 runs when you can have a huge inning? Let’s lay off the Sveum criticism for at least a day (by the way we’re winning 12-3).

          • Toby

            Wasn’t Sveum crucified for bunting Castro in the same situation?

            • DocPeterWimsey

              And deservedly so.  You should never bunt with position players unless they are putting the game ending run into scoring position.

          • GoldFinch

            He went “yard” against a right hander. All I’ve heard for the past two weeks is how LaHair can’t hit lefties(Sveum yapping the most about it), and then he lets him swing away like he’s crushing lefties! Sorry makes no sense to me.

            • Cooper R

              Just enjoy the win, buddy

              • GoldFinch

                Oh I am. I love it anytime we beat the Sox! Great win. Like this was very nice!(I have a tendancy to get worked up, I’m trying to tone it down, but that doesn’t mean I’m having my tail clipped,lol)

            • Drew7

              If you dont want him swinging away, pinch hit for him. Bunting in that situation is ridiculous, especially with a guy that has probably never done it in his career. I cant believe this is even a conversation.

        • Drew7

          No, thats a BetterFact. Post a link if your so confident.

          The goal is not to move runners over, its to score runs.

  • Jacob

    How many people think Luis Valbuena will eventually pass Barry Bonds on the all time home run list? He may have more than Koyie Hill already.

  • calicubsfan007

    Wow, we cant score a bloody run in some of these games, then we do something like this . Just weird. Is valbuena good enough to consider not starting Stewart anymore?

    • GoldFinch

      Cali,I’d rather see Valbuena start. Can he keep it up? I don’t know, but I’d rather see him play than Stewart!

      • calicubsfan007

        Gold Finch: He is having a better start than stew did. I guess we’ll find out if he’s the better option by game 50 or so.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      It’s not weird.  If the ChiSox pitchers had thrown well tonight, then they probably would have shut down the Cubs.  Instead, they tossed batting practice.

  • calicubsfan007

    And welcome back Garza. Still not your best work, but still not your worst.

    • Njriv

      I thought it was a pretty good job, considering the wind and all.

      • calicubsfan007

        Good point, I am really focusing on his trade value more than anything else. Trying to prepare myself for him being gone.

  • calicubsfan007

    Could enough Cubs go yard? Wow. Why can’t we do this every night?

  • calicubsfan007

    Corpas has been a pretty good pickup so far.

    • bob

      he may take some of the pressure off of Camp having to pitch every day

  • calicubsfan007

    I love beating the Black Sux.

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