Cubs’ Rick Renteria makes instant (-replay) history as managerContinue reading.
Cubs manager Rick Renteria won’t ask pitchers to be bat boys
ATLANTA — Cubs manager Rick Renteria has seen the Braves do it throughout the weekend series against the Cubs. Tony La Russa did it for years when he had Albert Pujols in the Cardinals lineup.
But if anybody should consider moving the pitcher up from the No. 9 spot in the batting order, shouldn’t it be the run-starved Cubs, who actually have two or three good-hitting pitchers?
“Actually, that’s a good question,” said Renteria, whose team entered Sunday’s game with the third-fewest runs in the National League, including just two in 19 innings Friday and Saturday. “I know that if you have a couple of pitchers that can hit, it probably isn’t as much of a disadvantage as you might think.
“I’d have to look at it more closely, but I know the thinking is to get the best hitter in your lineup as many opportunities to be able to drive in runs [as possible].”
The Cubs don’t exactly have a Pujols in the middle of their order, so maybe that’s why Renteria isn’t using the strategy that Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez began employing a week ago to roust his slumbering lineup.
What the do have are pitchers such as Jeff Samardzija, whose double and run scored Monday were the only hit and run against White Sox starter Jose Quintana. And pitcher Travis Wood, whose hitting is respected enough the Cubs have used him to pinch-hit, and who had as many or more RBIs (four) as four Cubs in Sunday’s lineup – and more home runs (one) than the entire starting outfield.
Even Sunday’s starter, Edwin Jackson, delivered a line single to left in his first at-bat Sunday.
So what would it take for Renteria to reconsider his allegiance to baseball convention and move a pitcher out of the nine hole?
“I don’t know what it would take,” he said. “I’m not thinking about it right now at all.”