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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lineup talk might be my favorite type of talk

Rollins, Utley, Werth, Howard, Ibanez, Victorino, Feliz, Ruiz, P

The current lineup needs to change. Andy and I have been saying it for a long time. You need to break up 2 of the lefties with a right handed hitter (Werth). Would you rather break up the two most dangerous left handed hitters or not? I will maintain that at the end of the season, Utley and Howard will have more impressive numbers (close though) than Ibanez. Raul has also been given credit as being a decent hitters against lefties. With all of this in mind, breaking Utley and Howard up with Werth will undoubtedly guarantee one of the following situations.

1) Utley faces a lefty, Werth a righty, and Howard a different lefty.

This situation would be extremely rare late in the game. This would force the manager to burn a couple of pitchers just to make his desired situation happen.

2) Utley, Werth, and Howard all face lefties.

This would be the most likely scenario, and the most beneficial if Utley and Howard must face a lefty. Werth creams lefties, so while our two best hitters face lefties, so does the owner of a .926 OPS against LHP. Werth would produce frequently in this spot.

3) Utley/Werth or Werth/Howard face righties.

Another possibility where the opposing manager is willing to take his chances with Utley/Howard facing their preferred handed pitcher.

Currently, Howard and Ibanez are being split up by Werth, which could easily ensure that Utley and Howard both face a southpaw. This would very frequently lead to Werth coming up with 2 outs against either a righty or a lefty with no one on base. Obviously, this is not a desirable situation. Another bonus about this proposed lineup would be including Ibanez in the first 5 lineup slots. The 5th batter obviously gets more PA/G than does the 6th spot in the lineup, so the obvious bonus: Ibanez gets more PAs over the season than Victorino.

Additionally, Joe Morgan said on Opening Day (and I'm not one to ever take a lot of stock in what Joe Morgan says but...) that Manuel doesn't like Victorino in the 2nd lineup spot because he's not a good situational hitter. I don't like the whole "situational hitter" talk, but, regardless the reason, Victorino should not be in the 2nd spot. He's not that great of a hitter, and he's certainly not worthy of more PAs than Utley, Howard, Werth, or Ibanez. Also, Manuel would be hesitant to let Victorino steal when he gets on base in that spot in the lineup, so as to not take the bat out of the big hitters' hands. Putting him in the 6th spot would allow him to steal more, thus helping the futility of the bottom of the lineup by taking extra bases on the other team.

Our biggest complaint is giving Victorino more PAs than Utley, Howard, Werth, and Ibanez. Changing this would also provide higher-OBP-guys batting ahead of good hitters like Werth, Howard, and Ibanez, and, of course, it would split up the more important left handers (Utley and Howard). The season is still young, but I highly doubt that Manuel will move Utley-Howard from the 3-4 spots.

Just saw Hamels get hit. Let's just hope he's not hurt too badly.

1 comment:

Scott Graham said...

P.S. Don't read into things too much if Happ should get knocked around. He's being fed to the sharks (aka all those "Chase Utleys")