Saturday, September 11, 2004

posted by James - 11:20 PM

I can't believe he actually did it. The he is Dusty Baker. And the it isn't dropping Sammy Sosa to sixth, if that's what you were thinking.

The it is moving Aramis Ramirez ahead of Sammy Sosa... joining Derrek Lee to claim their rightful places in the Cubs lineup.

This is not by any means an indictment of Sammy, just an acknowledgement of Lee and Ramirez's production relative to their former (I hope. I hope. I hope.) places in the lineup.

They were under-utilized hitting behind hitters not quite having the seasons of these first-year Cub sluggers.

It's unfortunate Cub Management couldn't figure out how this should have worked until the last month of the season... but this is better than never...
1. Patterson cf
2. Lee 1b
3. Ramirez 3b
4. Alou lf
5. Garciaparra ss
6. Sosa rf
7. Grudzielanek 2b
8. Barrett c
Knowing Dusty, I'm crossing my fingers in hope he'll trot out the same lineup tomorrow.

...not that my lineup-tinkering fetish won't get the best of me, becuase that lineup is still strange, even though it's far effective more than the other versions.

The team still lacks left-handed batters which substituting Grudzielanek at second base with Walker partly fixes... except Grudzielanek actually hits better against right-handers than Walker (.910 OPS for Mark in 141 ABs/.839 OPS for Todd in 288 ABs).

I think part of this is because Grudzielanek doesn't have to face right-handers in pinch-hitting situations (Walker has had no success as a pinch-hitter with a sub .300 OPS), and he's had to sit behind Grudzielanek quite a bit lately, not that Grudz hasn't deserved playing time as well.

In fact, pretty much every Cubs player shows a staggering "reverse split" (def: right-handed batter hits better off of right-handed pitcher) except Lee and Ramirez, who crush LHPs, which explains a little why the Cubs can't hit LHPs very well and get shut out by the likes of Scott Downs... ok, maybe not.

None of this really matters, because it's just coincidence that the Cubs best hitters all happen to be right handed... and I'd rather the hitters be good and capable of hitting without worrying which hand he uses to shovel food into his mouth.

***We interrupt this post to give you a special report Live from Just North of Wrigley Field***

Ok not so live, but the reason Nomar left Saturday's game early was due to a groin injury. He will probably not play in Sunday's game, though the Cubs expect he'll be back in the lineup soon.

***We now return you to your regularly-scheduled post reading***

I'll forego my questions as to whether Nomar and Aramis would bat in the same spots Sunday as they did Saturday because Nomar (or at least his groin) didn't want to play that game with me. Not that I really want to play games with Nomar's groin anyway. Why in the heck did I just write that? Not that there's anything wrong with...

Enough with the political correctness, back to the topic...

They won with this configuration, because it produced when it counted, including hitting Sammy sixth.

Hitting Aramis third and Nomar fifth is interesting, to say the least, but as long as Lee and Alou are in the mix somewhere, and not the likes of Jose Macias or Neifi Perez, it keeps the best hitters the Cubs have hitting 1-5... and Sammy, Grud/Walker and Barrett aren't bad for backup either.

Even though Aramis batting third seemed out of Just Behind Third Base, it worked... So did having Lee in front of him and Alou behind him...

...and Sammy hitting sixth as well. So why change any of these things?

I also don't care whether Ramon Martinez or Perez replaces Nomar for tomorrow's game... as long as neither of them bat second. I don't care at all that Perez has produced in both games he's played as a Cub. He still blows goats (damn! there goes my PG rating), and we all know that Cubs and goats don't mix.
1. Patterson cf
2. Walker/Grudzielanek 2b
3. Lee 1b
4. Ramirez 3b
5. Alou lf
6. Sosa rf
7. Barrett c
8. Martinez/Perez ss
1. Patterson cf
2. Lee 1b
3. Ramirez 3b
4. Alou lf
5. Walker 2b
6. Sosa rf
7. Barrett c
8. Martinez/Perez ss
I'd support either, and be back to shaking my head and muttering like a crazy man if anything else shows up while I'm working at Casey Moran's.

But if you wanted to send me your thoughts on the Cubs lineup, I'd give special consideration and commendation on this here blog to anyone who comes up with a better one.

Also, I'm still looking for people to join my fantasy football league. Bring it on, if you're not afraid of getting your ass whupped!

For those too lazy to scroll down to post, and heck who isn't?, here's the league id and password again:
League ID: 676156
League Password: chrisdavidjames

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