Well, that was quick. After two losses, the first rather exciting as losses go, the second rather putrid, manager Lou Piniella has shuffled the lineup.
(Somewhere message-board Moneyball Martin is preparing a 20-slide power-point presentation on why Soriano is even worse than Theriot in this spot. Not that anyone would disagree.)
There are numerous theories and/or explanations here. One, that Soriano was put in the second spot in anticipation of the long-rumored-but-never-happened Brian Roberts deal. Two, Piniella put Soriano back in the leadoff spot because the $136-million dollar baby is incapable of and/or unwilling to hit anywhere else, like, say, fifth. Three, that Ryan Theriot and his propensity to not reach base is not the answer in that spot, even though, have you, he had two hits yesterday after taking an 0-for-5 in the opener. And finally and least plausible without getting into a theological discussion despite the century's worth of circumstantial evidence, the Cubs could bat anyone anywhere and it won't make a lick of difference because God hates the Cubs.
Remain calm. All is well. Reclamation project Ryan Dempster takes the mound today. Dave Bush throws for the Brewers. Here's today's lineups. OMG, Ned Yost has used two lineups in three games, too!
Dempster starts Rickie Weeks off with a strike. Comes right back with a ball to even things out. Monday it was cloudy yet a little warm for the season. Yesterday it was sunny yet cold. Today's it's a little of both, cold and cloudy: mid-40s with a slight wind. Full count and Dempster just misses off the outside corner. Tony Gwynn dumps a double the other way down the left-field line and Prince Fielder comes up with two on and no outs. Fielder is still wearing those baggy pants but has the high socks going today and looks like the late Payne Stewart. Fielder hits a flyball to right. Kosuke Fukudome's throw is on target but late and takes a high hop off the grass. Weeks runs over Geovany Soto and takes him out and both runs score. The ball got away from Soto when Weeks ran him over. Ryan Braun grounds out to short. Hall strikes out swinging but the Brewers score two runs in the first.
Brewers 2, Cubs 0
Tremendous start for the Cubs. Soriano fouls off a few pitches from Bush to even the count at 2-2. Sorriano waves at ball in the dirt for strike three. Don't question Lou Piniella. Here's "the versatile Ryan Theriot," as Len calls him, which means he can fly out from either the leadoff or No. 2 spot, which he does -- to right. I'll try to get the updates as fast as they come. You know, wouldn't want to upset some donkey named Bill on the message board. Derrek Lee grounds out to short and the Cubs go down 1-2-3. in the first.
Brewers 2, Cubs 0
Corey Hart bounces out to third on the first pitch. J.J. Hardy flies out to right. The pitcher Bush lines out to Lee and Dempster has a much easier time with the bottom of the Brewers' order.
Aramis Ramirez takes a couple of balls to start the Cubs' half of the second. Ball four high and Ramirez takes a walk. Fukudome digs in and a bunch of shirtless kids in the bleachers have his name spelled out on their chests. Gotta support the team, I guess. Fukudome pokes one the other way. Braun starts in, retreats and the ball goes over his head. Ramirez takes third on the gift double. DeRosa bounces one towards third that eats up Bill Hall, allowing Ramirez to score. Runners on first and third. That ball took a big hop off the dirt and bounced over Hall's glove. Credit Roger Bossard. Soto knocks in Fukudome with a long flyball to center. DeRosa did not advance from first on the play. Pie singles up the middle past a diving Hardy. Yes, you read that right. Ryan Dempster with a bat in his hand with runners on first and second and one out. Dempster bunts the first pitch foul. And the second one. He takes two balls. He bunts foul what would've been ball three for the second out. Soriano grounds to short and they force Pie at second. But we're all tied up.
Cubs 2, Brewers 2
Jason Kendall grounds out to short to start the third. Weeks beats out a slow roller to short. Theriot made a nice play on it but the throw was just late. Gwynn takes a called third strike on a tailing fastball over the inside corner. Dempster throws one up and in on Fielder. Weeks steals second on the next pitch. Fielder grounds out to short right with the shift on.
Theriot breaks his bat grounding out to third. Lee grounds out to third on the first pitch. Ramirez sends one deep to center but not deep enought. Gwynn gloves it at the edge of the track.
Cubs 2, Brewers 2