6/18 More on the leadoff man
The Cubs had a new leadoff man Friday as Lou Piniella inserted rookie Tyler Colvin into the top spot in the order against Angels lefty Scott Kazmir. Colvin replaces Ryan Theriot, who has led off against lefties this year. But Theriot is averaging 3.56 pitches per plate appearance, has a .312 on-base percentage, and is batting .247 against left-handers. Colvin’s PPA isn’t much better — 3.71 — and he’s hitting .250 against lefties but so far this season. southpaw hitters are batting .420 off Kazmir.
“Left-handers have hit Kazmir here early in the year,” Lou Piniella said. “I’ve been using Colvin to pinch-hit against left-handers anyway. Get him out there and let him play.”
The only other option for the leadoff man, Piniella said, is rookie shortstop Starlin Castro but he’s batting .196 in June after hitting .310 in May.
“The amazing thing about Castro is when you look at his batting average, there’s a 100-point difference when he hits in the bottom of the lineup as opposed to the top,” said Piniella of Castro, who is batting .238 in the No. 2 spot and .308 in the eighth spot. “Could I hit him second? Yes. [Jeff] Baker’s been swinging really good against lefties and we get his bat at the top of the lineup. If we had to hit castro up there, we could.”
Being at the bottom of the order may help Theriot, too.
“Let him see some pitches,” Piniella said. “Sometimes it helps you relax a little bit, too.”
— Carrie Muskat