The Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox are set to face off in a historic series at Fenway Park, the first meeting in Beantown since the 1918 World Series, all the way back when Babe Ruth was a pitcher and the Curse of the Bambino was just a sparkle in his eyes.
And the Cubs will be on national TV three straight days running against a very, very talented (yet underperforming) team, much like the Cubs themselves. There are a lot of similarities between the two squads.
So, this is a big test for the Cubbies. Are they really anything more than a sub-.500 team? If so, they have to perform admirably in this series…or at the very least, not completely embarrass themselves.
And the good news is, it will be played at Fenway, so the DH is eligible. As such, this is how the Cubs should lineup Friday night if they want to have the best success:
1. Reed Johnson LF
2. Darwin Barney 2B
3. Starlin Castro SS
4. Jeff Baker RF
5. Aramis Ramirez 3B
6. Marlon Byrd CF
7. Carlos Pena 1B
8. Alfonso Soriano DH
9. Koyie Hill C
Against Boston southpaw Jon Lester, this right-handed loaded lineup should give the Cubs plenty of room to have success. Whether they will or not comes based on whether they execute or not, which is anybody’s guess at this point.
Reed Johnson has been tearing it up offensively and has the good on-base skills to lead off against a lefty. No more of moving Castro around. He’s in the 3-hole? Fine. Leave him there. Alfonso Soriano has been downright awful in left field this year, so now that the DH is around, that’s his perfect spot. His only value is as a hitter now (and only sometimes), so just have him hit and don’t even let him play the Green Monster in left.
Jeff Baker is having a great season and absolutely tears up left-handed pitching, so he needs to be in the lineup and with Soriano a defensive liability and Kosuke Fukudome and Tony Campana lefties, sticking Baker out in right makes sense. And Aramis Ramirez is simply not handling the cleanup duties with authority, so Baker should hit there.
If I was Mike Quade, with this team, this is how I would line the Cubs up. Whether that’s right or wrong, I guess we’ll never know, because it won’t happen exactly this way. Why? Only God knows.