Right-handed lineup gets more time to produce

Right-handed lineup gets more time to produce

Right-handed lineup gets more time to produce
HOUSTON -- There was no turnover Monday at the top of the Cubs' batting order as manager Dale Sveum hinted he might do.

"I didn't say I was changing it," Sveum said. "I considered it. I decided not to."

Why not? Part of the reasoning is Sveum wanted to overload the lineup with left-handed hitters against Astros right-handed starter Bud Norris. The other reason is the Cubs will face left-handed starters for three games, beginning Tuesday, and he'll be using his right-handed-hitting lineup for those games.

But Sveum did come close to some tweaks.

"Very close, I will admit," Sveum said. "I decided to give it one more week, the right-handed lineup."

It isn't that Sveum is upset at the job David DeJesus, Tony Campana and Starlin Castro are doing in the 1-2-3 spots. The Cubs haven't been able to turn the lineup over. They're batting .231 with runners in scoring position.

"The bottom line is we're still not scoring runs," said Sveum, whose team ranks 14th in the National League in RBIs. "We're not scoring runs off the starting pitchers and it's been going on all year. It's kind of weird. We're better against the back end of the bullpen than we have been against starting pitchers."

For example, in the three games against the White Sox, all losses, the Cubs were outscored 16-6, and only two of those runs came off a starter, Philip Humber.

"I think the top three, we're doing a decent job getting on base for the guys behind us," DeJesus said. "[Sveum] knows what he's doing. We trust him, we stand behind him and whatever he has in store for us, we'll deal with it and go out and do it."

After nearly two months, Sveum is looking for more production.

"You want to see adjustments," he said. "As players and hitters go, you want to see the effort, and I don't care if you stand on your head, just understand that when you get to a certain stage of at-bats, that it's time to change something. ... Cal Ripken used to have a different stance every week, [so did] Don Mattingly -- you go on and on.

"You just want to see some effort for change, whether it's mechanics or the effort to take more pitches and not feel like the only way you have a chance is to hit the first pitch and if you don't, the at-bat is over," he said. "These kind of things are what you want to see changed and adjustments made that way."

What Sveum has seen are eight good at-bats by players, then eight not so good at-bats. It's weird, he said.

"When you get to the two-month mark of the season, that's when things start to change," Sveum said. "It becomes, 'OK, we've given you the opportunity and given you the chance, we have to get production now.' There are people waiting in the wings to get jobs."