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Monday, June 06, 2005

A few comments on our lineup

After seeing what kind of issues we're having at the plate over the weekend, I've decided it's time to discuss our lineup. For the record, this discussion will have no talk about Ryan Doumit for several reasons, which include but are not limited to: I have no idea what kind of hitter he is other than to look at his on-paper numbers; I have no idea where Lloyd will be playing him; I could do another post on him.

Item number one: Matt Lawton. After a bit of a May slump (as discussed briefly here) he seems to be back on track a bit. His BA dropped as low as .246, but is now back up to .267 after two solid games against the Braves. It's impressive that he has 25 RBI, given that he hasn't had people on base when he's come to the plate in something like 200 years. Might only have been 6 ABs, but we're not going to have him getting any RBI to increase his trade value - er, value to the team, if he comes up alone every time. Regardless, he's finally getting back into the swing of things (bad pun, I know.) Except on the base paths. He makes a little leaguer look like a genius when it comes to "paying attention" and "trying" when he's on base. He also sucks in the field...looking at what Arthur Rhodes has done this year, maybe it wasn't the best move to make on our part, but he's still getting the job done I suppose.

Item number two: The #2 slot in our order. Looks like it's been filled by Freddy Sanchez. I was happy about that at first, but then I looked at his numbers: .150/.171/.225/.396. Yes, that's right, an OBP of .396. I love this guy, his defense has been spectacular and he's provided a big spark to our team with his energy. But he's not hitting the ball right now. Here's an interesting fact though: all 9 of his RBI have come with 2 outs. So he's a good guy to have up at the end of innings, but not really the beginning of the order. A possible solution: how about Jose Castillo? He hits better with the bases empty than with somebody on (all numbers are higher in all catagories except OBP with bases loaded, in which its .391-.400, which is minimal.) That would also free up a spot closer to the bottom of the order, where Sanchez generally does much better. Sanchez's best numbers have come out of the 8 spot (.545/.615/.909/1.524) but his numbers from the 6 aren't bad either (.444/.500/.889/1.389). Given that Jack has been doing well in the 8, maybe we should put Sanchez into the 6.

Item number three: The aforementioned Jack Wilson hitting in the 8 spot. It's working out fantastically. While he's been struggling to hit anything from the other spots, his numbers from 8th: .367/.406/.550/.956. He's walked more than he's struck out from this spot (4 BB/2 K) and he's scored 70% as many runs in the 8th spot as he did from the 2nd spot, only he's done that in fewer than half as many ABs (126/60.) Having him 8th also gets a speedy guy on base so that we're less likely to ground into a DP (last night doesn't count, everybody thought that ball was going to drop.)

Item number four: The middle of our lineup needs to be shuffled. Saturday night was a killer watching Ward strand a few hundred guys on base because he bounced one right into the dirt. If Davies walked Ward to face Mackowiak, who is almost a guarantee to not GIDP, we have a much better chance to score at least one run and possibly win the game. PNC Park was going absolutely NUTS during that rally, and then Ward killed it and the crowd went dead for the rest of the game. That's not to say that Mack wouldn't have gotten out anyway, but the chances to at least keep the rally alive would have been better. I'd propose the middle of the order to be something like 4-Ward, 5-Mackowiak, 6-Sanchez. Especially given Sanchez's propensity to thrive with two outs.

Taking this all into account, here's what I'd like to see on the field every night:
Lawton, RF
Castillo, 2B
Bay, LF
Ward, 1B
Mackowiak, CF
Sanchez, 3B
Cota, C
Wilson, SS

Things are looking bright in Pittsburgh. The fans actually care about baseball again, which is something I haven't seen in years. Our attendance is up nicely, and not without good reason: this team is fun to watch. Our pitching has dominated two of the best teams in the NL, as well as just about everybody else of late. We're scoring some runs, although we're still stranding too many baserunners. But we're winning. If we can pull off a .500 run through the rest of the month, we'll have a good shot at making .500 for the all-star break.

My predictions for our upcoming series:
2-1 over the Orioles
2-1 over the Devil Rays
2-1 over the Yankees
1-2 against the Red Sox

Not because I think the Red Sox are that good, but I just feel like we're going to get real tired by the end of this run. We've been playing extremely good baseball against extremely good opposition and we've been winning, so there's no reason to expect us to really slow down anytime soon.



Blogger Rory said...

In what context are your Freddy Sanchez stats. I'm guessing they're out of the two spot. Their is probably a pretty small sample size there if that's the case.

5:43 PM  
Blogger Zach XOR Jeremy said...

Yes, they are from the 2 spot and admittedly a bit of a small sample size. Still, looking at his numbers from the 6 and 8 spots should be reason enough to keep him there.

9:40 PM  

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