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Cubs manager Dale Sveum ponders shakeup at top of lineup

The Cubs’ Alfonso Soriano avoids high inside pitch Sunday. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

The Cubs’ Alfonso Soriano avoids a high, inside pitch Sunday. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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TONIGHT

Cubs at Astros

The facts: 7:05, CSN, 720-AM.

The pitchers: Matt Garza (2-1, 2.58 ERA) vs. Bud Norris (4-1, 3.58).

The rest of the series

Tuesday: 7:05 p.m., CSN, 720-AM. Travis Wood (0-0, 4.50) vs. J.A. Happ (3-3, 4.96).

Wednesday: 7:05 p.m., Ch. 9, 720-AM. Jeff Samardzija (4-2, 3.00) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (3-4, 2.24).

Updated: July 1, 2012 12:49PM



Manager Dale Sveum says he hopes Cubs fans have some patience with his team right now, but that doesn’t mean he will.

Sveum said he has a lineup shakeup in mind as the team heads to Houston on a six-game losing streak that has been especially light on hitting. Not that he has many — some might argue any — strong alternatives.

‘‘I might think about changing things at the top of the order,’’ Sveum said after the Cubs’ 6-0 loss Sunday to Jake Peavy and the White Sox on a warm, breezy day ideal for hitting. ‘‘Not that anybody’s doing anything wrong, just to change something. Because we ain’t producing any runs that way, so we might change things up there.’’

Sveum said the changes might include No. 3 hitter Starlin Castro, the reigning National League hits king, who has only three hits in his last 21 at-bats.

‘‘It’ll probably affect the first three guys more than anything else,’’ he said. ‘‘The bottom line is . . . we have to start producing, or we’re going to have to start making some changes.’’

The Cubs’ 143 runs (3.5 per game) rank third from the bottom in the NL. They’ve been held to two runs or fewer in 14 of their 41 games and to one or fewer nine times.

Sveum has talked a lot about on-base percentage, and his top four hitters in that category are cleanup man Bryan LaHair (.415), utility man Joe Mather (.365), leadoff man David DeJesus (.360) and No. 2 man Tony Campana (.356).

Sveum said Mather is a candidate for more playing time.

‘‘It’s stuff you definitely think about because we need some production,’’ Sveum said.

Castro (.324 OBP) said he’s fine with a move in either direction in the lineup.

‘‘It doesn’t matter,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m ready to hit in whatever spot in the lineup. Wherever he wants to put me, I’ll try to do my job and help the team.’’

LaHair, the Cubs’ top offensive producer all season, has one hit in his last 17 at-bats.

‘‘We’ve got good chemistry in the clubhouse, so it’s probably just a matter of time before this kind of team will click,’’ he said.

Regardless, Sveum said he hopes fans stay patient through times like these.

‘‘Yeah, that’s probably a good way to put it,’’ he said. ‘‘After going through a pretty good two-week stretch, now we’re at a good week’s stretch of no wins. And, obviously, getting swept by the White Sox at home [is] about as low as you’re going to get in a seven-game stretch.

‘‘You hope the fans understand and stay patient the rest of the year.’’



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