Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Chicago Cubs [Print without images]

Friday, June 29, 2012
Cubs could give LaHair a shot vs. a lefty

By Doug Padilla

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs' version of the-chicken-or-the-egg conundrum, or perhaps the-dog-chasing-its-tail predicament, has to do with Bryan LaHair.

Bryan LaHair
Bryan LaHair has just three hits in 35 at-bats against left-handers this season.
LaHair hasn’t been able to play much against left-handers because he doesn’t have the numbers to show he deserves it. And he can’t show decent numbers against left-handers unless he gets to play against them.

But with the Houston Astros going with left-handers on both Saturday and Sunday, manager Dale Sveum said that he might relent and let LaHair play.

“I’m thinking about it,” Sveum said. “You just have to see some results. Unfortunately, the results aren’t very competitive. But you do need to give him a chance once in awhile especially against left-handers whose numbers against left-handed (hitters) aren’t very good.”

That probably isn’t the nicest way to refer to Astros lefty and Northwestern University product J.A. Happ, who will start Saturday. But the facts are that left-handers do have a .275 batting average against him, even if it’s only in 91 at-bats, compared to the .280 batting average right-handers have against him in 246 at-bats.

Clearly something has to be done when it comes to the Cubs against left-handed pitching. They are batting just .220 against lefties, the third lowest mark in the major leagues. They are also just 4-17 against lefty starters. Every other team in the majors has at least five victories against left-handers.

So LaHair figures to get his chance, despite his .086 batting average (3-for-35) against lefties. He does have a home run, but in those 35 at-bats, 20 of them have ended in a strikeout, and he has grounded into two double plays.

But Sveum has come up with other plans before and eventually gone in a different route.

“We’ll see what happens; what I come up with,” Sveum said.