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Keep Sam Fuld In The Lineup: Cubs vs. Brewers Preview, Friday 7/3, 1:20 CT

One thing Lou Piniella has been about in his time as Cubs manager is playing young players when they produce. Ryan Theriot pretty much forced Lou to keep him as the starting SS in 2007 with a great spring. Mike Fontenot, same thing in getting to the major league roster and getting more playing time. And Micah Hoffpauir impressed Lou in last year's spring training and played himself into a bench role after several years mashing minor league pitching.

Sam Fuld, and granted it's only been two days, is making his case to at least play while he's hot, and maybe stick around as a bench player when everyone's healthy (hmmm. Couldn't he have done everything Joey Gathright was supposed to do, only better?). Me, I'd rotate Fuld through the outfield for the next few days, giving Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome and Milton Bradley days off on a rotating basis. Keep that bat, good fielding, baserunning speed and enthusiasm in the lineup until he cools off. Bruce Miles agrees.

Remember when Aramis Ramirez got hurt and we all hoped the Cubs could at least keep pace until he returned? That's exactly what they've done -- still 2.5 games behind, exactly where they were on May 8. And they could get a couple games closer before A-Ram's return on Monday.

And for those of you who want Lou to show some fire, maybe you should think again. You don't want to put him in the hospital, do you?

"I'm done with that," Piniella said Thursday of questions about his famous fiery approach. "You know, my chest was hurting after the ballgame. The trainer told me to take a nice, cold shower. I don't know why I had to answer that before.

"I went out and argued and I got kicked out, so now I don't have to answer that question anymore."
Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Zambrano
vs. Jeff Suppan
Jeff Suppan
4-3 W-L 5-6
3.69 ERA 4.86
66 SO 47
35 BB 37
7 HR 13
vs. Mil -- vs. Cubs

The Cubs have already beaten Jeff Suppan twice this year, on April 12 and May 10. Alfonso Soriano homered off Suppan once in each of those games, so I guess it might make sense to put Soriano back in the lineup today. Those are the only two HR he has hit off Suppan, though, and in his career he's hitting only .209 vs. Suppan. Derrek Lee, though, is 21-for-47 (.447) vs. Suppan with 7 doubles, 4 HR and nine walks.

Z gave up three ER in six innings and got a no-decision vs. Milwaukee on April 11. Prince Fielder, who hits almost everyone, hits Z, too: 11-for-30 (.367), 5 doubles, 2 HR, eight walks. In his career Z is 10-8, 3.68 vs. the Brewers in 24 appearances (23 starts).

Today's game is again on CSN Chicago and FSN Wisconsin. For other games today see the Mediacenter. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Overflow comment threads will post today at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.