Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

Baker bats third as Cubs try to avoid sweep today

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Looking for heat on a cold and rainy day, Mike Quade changed up his lineup again and plugged in one of his two hottest hitters, Jeff Baker, into the No. 3 hole against a pitcher who shut out the Cubs 12 days ago in Denver.

Baker's hitting .409, including 8-for-17 (.417) on the homestand. He didn't play April 15 against the Rockies when Jhoulys Chacin held the Cubs to six hits in his first career complete game.

``I probably don't [resort to the hot hand] that often,'' Quade said. ``But I looked at the game at Colorado against this guy, and he was really tough on us. The two kids that had the best at-bats against him were [Aramis] Ramirez with three hits and [Carlos] Pena.

``Take those two guys and put the hottest guy in the lineup next to them and hope for the best.''

Baker batted in the three spot just once last year, in a 13-3 win over the Florida Marlins Sept. 19 in the Tyler Colvin-gets-impaled game.

Lefties are hitting .302 against Chacin so far this season, compared to .214 by right-handers, which should favor the slumping Pena and red-hot Kosuke Fukudome, who's leading off in his first start since a five-hit game Monday night.

The lefty-hitting Colvin also is in the lineup, in left field, batting seventh just ahead of switch-hitting catcher Koyie Hill.

The Cubs' full lineup:

Fukudome, RF
Castro, SS
Baker, 2B
Ramirez, 3B
Pena, 1B
Byrd, CF
Colvin, LF
Hill, C
Coleman, P

One more note: Quade says he's not sure who will make Sunday's start in Arizona, when the Cubs need a fifth starter again. General manager Jim Hendry, Quade and pitching coach Mark Riggins are expected to discuss all the options on tonight's flight to Phoenix.

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on April 27, 2011 12:15 PM.

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