Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lead Him Off!

Yesterday's sixth double play of the season is to make even the biggest Austin Kearns fanboy [raises hand] start to doubt. He's on pace (yay! fun with paces!) for 65 on the season. Somewhere -- not in the Hall of Fame -- Jim Rice is quietly rooting.

Forget everything you know about Kearns and his expectations.

Just look at what he is, has been, and is doing.

He walks and smacks the occasional single. He hits the ball on the ground a lot, and is always a DP threat when there are runners on. He's basically the team's second best on-base guy.

What would you do with a guy with that profile? Bat him leadoff dammit! He gets on base for the guys below him. He's not especially fast, but he's hardly a base-clogger. With the pitcher ahead of him, he's going to have fewer opportunities to hit into DPs. Walks are always good, but sometimes -- in the middle of the order -- you need a guy to put the bat on the ball and drive those guys in, and that's not something I'm sure he's capable of right now. (FIRE LENNY!!!!)

Put him at the top of the order. Let Guzman hit second (he's driving the ball, but he'd bat left-handed most of the time and with Kearns on first after his walk, he'd have a bigger hole on the right side to drive the ball through). Zimmerman/Johnson, who cares? I know that's the grand messageboard debate now, but having the worse batter hit third actually makes sense according to some lineup theories.

Kearns
Guzman
Zimmerman
Johnson
Milledge
Pena
Belliard
PLod

Works for me. Same guys, different order. Maximizing the things they do well. Hey, why not? Nothing else is working lately.

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