CINCINNATI -- Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum is sticking with his plan to platoon most of his left-handed hitters against left-handed starters as David DeJesus, Nate Schierholtz and Luis Valbuena will start on the bench on Tuesday when Cincinnati Reds southpaw Tony Cingrani takes the mound.
The Cubs are 0-4 this season in games when the opposition starts a left-hander and the decision to start Dave Sappelt, Scott Hairston and Cody Ransom is controversial. Sappelt and Hairston have been abysmal against left-handers this season although that's supposed to be their strong suit.
As a team the Cubs are hitting .196 against lefties while Sappelt and Hairston are hitting .118 and .071, respectively.
Schierholtz, in particular, has an argument with his manager if he wants one. He's a career .284 hitter against lefties. That's a higher average than against righties (.269) and his on-base percentage is comparable (.319 to .322). He also had "conversations" when he signed with the Cubs about playing against left-handers but wasn't guaranteed anything. And he has yet to start against one.
Isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same result? Maybe Sveum believes the law of averages is in favor of players such as Sappelt and Hairston but at some point he needs to give the lefties -- especially those on hot streaks like the three sitting on Tuesday -- a chance to play. It just won't be in this game.
Here is the Cubs lineup:
1. Sappelt CF
2. Starlin Castro SS
3. Anthony Rizzo 1B
4. Alfonso Soriano LF
5. Welington Castillo C
6. Hairston RF
7. Ransom 3B
8. Darwin Barney 2B
9. Villanueva P