Hale plays matchup in pinch-hitting for Lamb

Hale plays matchup in pinch-hitting for Lamb

CHICAGO -- Sometime in the future, that bases-loaded at-bat in the eighth inning of a one-run game will belong to D-backs third baseman Jake Lamb, whether there's a lefty or righty on the mound.

Against Cubs left-hander Travis Wood on Saturday, though, D-backs manager Chip Hale pinch-hit for Lamb with the right-handed-hitting Rickie Weeks Jr., who lined out to end the inning as Arizona went on to fall, 5-3, at Wrigley Field.

Lamb is one of the players the D-backs plan to build around, and they think his swing will translate against left-handed pitchers. This year, though, his splits are hard to ignore. He came into the game hitting .118 against lefties, opposed to .313 against righties.

"I want to hit in every situation, but I'm not stupid," Lamb said. "I know that I've been struggling -- and especially off the bench with Rickie's bat, it was a matchup. And it was a good call. You saw the at-bat he had. He took a [heck] of a swing on that ball and it was right at the guy."

Weeks worked the count full after falling behind 0-2, and on the eighth pitch of the at-bat, he hit a liner that might have gone into center. But second baseman Ben Zobrist was shading him up the middle.

"I hit it pretty good, but I saw Zobrist over there," Weeks said.

"It was one of the better at-bats I think we've had all year," said Hale. "That was exciting. Packed house, battle to 3-2 and hit a bullet, and of course there's Zobrist right there."

While the decision to pinch-hit for Lamb may have been the correct one, it was not necessarily an easy one for Hale.

Lamb, who is slashing .277/.359/.538 overall, homered earlier in the game off Cubs starter Jason Hammel.

Lamb's two-run shot

"We're doing everything we can to win the game," Hale said. "Jake's been a great player for us all year, but Rickie is a good matchup against the lefty. Jake hasn't hit the lefties all that well. I've told him over and over, as his career goes on, he won't be pinch-hit for and he'll handle lefties. But at that point, Rickie was the matchup."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.