What do the Cubs, with the worst record in MLB, gain by sitting Bryan LaHair vs. left-handed pitching?
The Cubs are (4-17) against southpaws. Their .221 avg. against left-handers ranks 15/16 in the National League.
Jeff Baker, who often serves as LaHair’s replacement against lefties, is hitting .228, 1 HR & 5 RBI against left-handers–not exactly tearing it up.
LaHair’s not hitting left-handed pitching any better (.086, 1 HR & 1 RBI), and he never will without an opportunity to prove otherwise.
It’s not that I expect LaHair to right the ship immediately against southpaws. His strikeout rate against them is eye-popping: 20 K in 35 at-bats. His five walks, however, in 22 fewer at-bats equals Baker’s walk total against lefties.
All I’m saying is why take a guy hitting .288 overall who’s second on the club in HR (13) and third in RBI (28) out of a lineup struggling to score runs?
Are the Cubs THAT much worse off playing LaHair over Baker? Hardly.
Including the remaining two games against Houston this weekend, the Cubs face at least four left-handed starters, and possibly five, over its next 10 games.
If there was ever a chance to get LaHair the experience he desperately needs against major league left-handed pitching, this is it.
Sure, LaHair’s learning curve could worsen his overall numbers and potentially lower his trade value. But what happens if LaHair shows improvement?
Unfortunately, Dale Sveum appears content never knowing.