What Should Lou Do? A Second Half Shuffle Suggestion

Cleveland Indians vs Chicago Cubs
Like many men his age, Lou Piniella needs assistance from younger, more active folks.

It would just not be fair to let Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella off scot-free after the scathing I have given general manager Jim Hendry this season. Unlike his first two years as the skipper, Piniella has failed at putting his players in the best place to be successful. Part of it is because of the garbage Hendry gave him to work with, but part of it is Piniella's unwillingness to move Alfonso Soriano down in the order, ride the hot hand and manage the bullpen, among other things.

Sweet Uncle Lou is no dummy, at least, that is what I am supposed to think. He did win the NL Manager of the Year award last year and all that means to me is that he did something right.


And since everyone needs help sometimes, here is my suggested rotation going into the second half.

  1. Ted Lilly
  2. Carlos Zambrano
  3. Randy Wells
  4. Rich Harden
  5. Kevin Hart
Kevin Hart as the fifth starter? That would be funny if it was true. I'd like Sean Marshall here, but Lou and Hendry have a permanent place for him in their dog houses.

Don't you wish the Cubs had signed Pedro Martinez? Oh wait, he's hurt?

Still, once Harden's shoulder flies out of its socket, the Chicago will have only two-and-a-half Major League quality starters, because I'm still not completely sold on Randy Wells. For $1 million, it's a risk Hendry should have taken.

Out of the bullpen, things would get a lot easier if they landed B.J. Ryan, but let's work with what's on the table. Kevin Gregg isn't going anywhere (sad) so he's still the closer. Angel Guzman and Carlos Marmol are your ace set-up men with rookie Jeff Stevens working for either of them if they tire. Aaron Heilman and Sean Marshall are long relievers. David Patton is on the DL, permanantly, I hope.

As for the daily line-up, here's what I'd do.

Against Righties: Fukudome CF Bradley RF Lee 1B Ramirez 3B Soriano LF Fox C Theriot SS Fontenot 2B

On-base guys at the top, sluggers in the middle, speed at the bottom. Sounds like a line-up that could be productive for five runs per game at the least.

Against Lefties: Theriot SS Bradley RF Lee 1B Ramirez 3B Soriano LF Fox C Johnson CF Blanco 2B

Sorry, I saw Reed Johnson's pathetic attempt of leading off a ballgame against the Cardinals first hand. Yes, he was going up against Chris Carpenter, but that didn't stop Rich Harden from collecting two hits against the former Cy Young winner.

This is the time the Cubs need to start taking advantage of these on-base percentage guys. What's the point of batting Bradley lower in the order when you have to depend on Mike Fontenot, Andres Blanco, Koyie Hill and Aaron Miles to drive him in?

I can't be the only one who wants to use his .379 OBP in front of Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez. And while it seems every Cubs fan has a hard-on for Sam Fuld, Kosuke Fukudome has a .367 OBP against Major League pitching and Fuld is sitting at .359 against Triple-A hurlers. And last time I checked, big league pitchers were better than minor leaguers.

Unless you're talking about the Washington Nationals, of course.

This all will change when Geovany Soto and Ryan Dempster return to the fold, but by then, it might be too late. Lou Piniella needs to take this advice to the bank and cash in now. Or risk being one of the biggest disappointments in Chicago Cubs history.