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Monday, May 21, 2012
Not so fast on those Cubs lineup changes

By Doug Padilla

HOUSTON -- That lineup upheaval Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum talked about for the top of the order will have to wait.

Sveum said he came close to making the change, but declined at the last minute.

In Monday’s opener of a three-game series at Houston against the Astros, the lineup looked very similar to the one that has been used against right-handed pitching for about a month now, aside from a few spots at the bottom of the order.

David DeJesus was in the leadoff spot and playing right field, followed by Tony Campana (center field) and Starlin Castro (shortstop). Bryan LaHair (first base) continued to hit out of the cleanup spot, followed by Alfonso Soriano (left field), Ian Stewart (third base), Adrian Cardenas (second base), Koyie Hill (catcher) and Matt Garza (pitcher).

“It was very close, I will admit,” Sveum said. “I thought about it last night and today and I decided being that on the road trip we face three lefties and today was a good day to get every left-hander in the lineup off Bud Norris, who notoriously dominated right-handed hitters. I just decided to give the right-handed lineup one more week.”

The left-handed Cardenas was making his second consecutive start at second base in place of Darwin Barney, which was another nod to Norris’ ability to cause problems for right-handed hitters.

After the Cubs completed a weekend against the White Sox when they scored in just three of the 27 innings and were swept, Sveum said changes would be ahead.

“I’m thinking about changing things at the top of the order there, not that anybody is doing anything wrong,” Sveum said Sunday. “We aren’t producing any runs that way.”

DeJesus’ .360 on-base percentage is second on the team, while Castro leads the team in RBIs with 25.

“DeJesus has done everything at the leadoff spot and Campana has done everything,” Sveum said Monday. “The bottom line is that we’re still not scoring runs off the starting pitchers. It’s been going on all year. It’s kind of weird. We’re better against the back end of a bullpen than we have been against starting pitchers so it’s just more of dwelling over that fact that what possibility can we do to change up. But it’s not because anybody isn’t doing their job.”