I would just like to pose to your dear fans the game of "Russian Roulette" Piniella is playing with his lineup. Now don't get me wrong, Piniella is saying all the right things, but his roster and projected starting lineup looks to fly in the face of some of them.
You all understand the game of "Russian Roulette', where you gamble your life that the squeeze of the trigger has only a one in six chance of making it a bad day.
Well when Piniella dictates that his pitchers throw more strikes, the usual outcome is that more balls are put in play. Now with an outfield that should be wearing hard hats, it's like adding another round into one of the empty chambers.
We've often witnessed that come crunch time, the ball always seems to find the weak link in the field. The Cubs can help themselves out in this situation by fielding the best defensive team possible. After all, didn't Piniella proclaim that if you can't catch the ball you won't play?
There are two things that never go in a slump during the season and they are speed and defense. The Cubs are presently configured to be suspect in both of these areas. The question is why? Speed and defensive help were in camp this spring training and it's not like the players that exhibited these traits underperformed.
The game of baseball is a zero sum game. The team with the most runs wins. The fewer runs you give up, (pitching and defense) the fewer runs you need to score.
It is certainly a legitimate question to ask, just how stellar the Cubs rotation will be this year. So it seems more imperative the Cubs field their best defensive team.
Pie did nothing but have an excellent spring at the plate, the one concern of Cubs management, and would solidify the suspect outfield defense.
The Riot also piggy backed this springs numbers on an excellent last month or so from last year, showing he understands the importance of knowing how to get on base.
Both Pie and The Riot bring an element of speed to the team that's only real base stealing threat is Soriano.
How many HR's are the Cubs going to half to hit to make up for a suspect defense and turtles running the bases?
The issue that has seemed to force Piniella's hand with his lineup was the offseason signing of Floyd. That isn't what the Cubs needed for another LH hitter, an American League DH. Instead they could've got Lofton or even Finely for goodness sake. That way you'd have a little defense, speed and plate discipline from your backup outfielder.
The Cubs roster has plenty of mashers already on it with Soriano, Lee, A-Ram, Jones and Barrett. They could easily afford to play Pie and The Riot everyday to help the team with it's speed and defense.
My suggestion would be to option Ward and have Floyd take his spot as the number one hitter off the bench. Bring up Pie to play CF. Platoon Jones and Murton in LF, all you Murton fans relax please and have The Riot as your leadoff man at 2B. Murton and Jones could alternate in the 2 hole in the lineup and slide Soriano down to at least 4th in the order. DeRosa looks to bring more defensive versatility than The Riot and has demonstrated he can perform well in the super sub role.
A fact that is often overlooked on last year's Cardinals team success in the playoffs was, they were the best defensive team of the eight that were in the playoffs.
Lollygagger Girl Kerry's, 2007 Chicago Cubs Starting Lineup!
The Riot 2B
A lineup with plenty of power, above average OBP and speed in the leadoff spot, with better overall team speed and defense.