Cubs Lineup

Let the autopsy report on this ghastly series read: three games, two runs, 14 hits, three losses.

Lou Piniella made a lineup change on Thursday night, sliding Mike Fontenot from third base to the more familiar ground at second and starting the seldom-used Ryan Freel at third. The moves paid dividends...to the Cardinals:

According to Gordon Wittenmyer, Lou is moving Alfonso Soriano out of the leadoff spot for the time being and putting Ryan Theriot up there. It looks like Theriot, Fukudome, Soriano, Ramirez, Lee in the first five spots for tonight. It'll probably be some combination of Reed Johnson, Soto and either Fontenot or Miles for the last three spots.

With Soriano now in the middle of the order, the Cubs should be good for what? 7...10...15 runs a night? Sarcasm aside, Theriot and Fukudome are doing the job right now getting on-base and with Bradley out and Hoffpauir likely not playing too much more corner outfield, the middle of the order could use the power for the time being. I would guess that this won't last long enough to get any meaningful read on whether the team is better off with Soriano batting leadoff or in a more traditional run-producing spot, but it definitely won't hurt the team as long as Theriot and Fukudome keep getting on-base (there's some expert analysis for you). The best thing about all this is moving Lee down the fifth spot in my opinion.

Full Lineups for Tonight: Theriot, Fukudome, Soriano, Ramirez, Lee, Fontenot, Soto, Johnson, Dempster vs. Shumaker, Ankiel, Pujols, Ludwick, Duncan, Molina, Greene, Thurston and Wainwright.

Update: First pitch now set for 2pm.


Update: Well, tomorrow's forecast is no bargain either--50% chance of precipitation--which is consistent with the latest from Paul Sullivan that the Cubs are determined to get today's game in. Sullivan also quotes Bob Brenly, who said on WSCR this morning that it seemed like an obvious move to slide Aramis Ramirez into the third spot and drop Derrek Lee (2-for-25) down into the fifth spot. Obviously not an issue today with Ramirez and Milton Bradley both out of the starting lineup.


Update: Yes, this would not only be Fontenot's first-ever start at 3B, it would be the first time he has ever played the position in the majors. From what I can tell, he played some third in '05 at Iowa, but other than that, it has been all shortstop and second base.


Gordon Witternmyer tweets that, according to Lou Piniella, Milton Bradley is feeling better, but Aramis Ramirez has a sore back and is not in the starting lineup:

Soriano, lf
Theriot, ss
Fukudome, rf
Lee, 1b
Fontenot, 3b
Johnson, cf
Miles, 2b
Hill, c
Lilly, p

Or, how Baseball-Reference will be the death of me

 

The latest ridiculously interesting tool released by baseball-reference.com is its Batting Order Position Outcomes page. Plug in a team, a year, and a position in the batting order, and it will break down that position's results by the player batting in that slot.

 

For instance, did you know that on the 2007 Cubs team, Cesar Izturis logged the most games (41) and plate appearances (154) in the 8th spot in the order? He put up a .254/.314/.300/.614 line while hitting 8th, and the Cubs went 18-23 in games where he batted 8th. With Koyie Hill hitting 8th, the Cubs went an impressive 14-7. No thanks to Hill, necessarily, who hit .141/. 203/.211/.414 in those games. In stark contrast to Hill, Ronny Cedeno hit .368/.369/.737/1.052 in nine games there, and the Cubs went 2-7.

 

Other interesting but perhaps entirely meaningless discoveries include...

With the wind chill factor in Chicago approaching 137 degrees below zero and Spring Training still 21 days, 14 hours, 9 minutes and 41 seconds away, I found this fun little diversion courtesy of David Pinto at Baseball Musings.

Based on work by Cyril Morong (Beyond The Box Score), Ken Arneson (Catfish Stew), and Ryan Armbrust (The Pastime), Pinto has fashioned a Lineup Analysis machine. You simply feed nine players into the formula along with their OBP's and slugging percentages, and what you get back is a series of run projection numbers, based on various lineup permutations of the players you entered.

For yucks, I entered numbers for Soriano, Theriot, Lee, Ramirez, Fukudome, Pie, DeRosa and Soto, plus a generic Cub Pitchers line (.167 OBP, .207 SLG, based on the Cub pitchers’ ’07 hitting performance).

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