Two games, two identical lineups. Who do you think you are, Dusty Baker? Since you seem to be still goofing around with your new roster (Niekro against Peavy! Alfonzo against Hoffman! You kidder, you!), I thought I'd give you a few tips for filling out the lineup card tonight.
First, don't listen to what anybody says -- it doesn't much matter whether Bonds hits third or fourth, or that Ray Durham isn't a classic cleanup hitter. What you need to worry about is that for the last two nights you've had a solid 1-4 and then a horrid string of punchless free-swingers. Check out the numbers vs righties (2004-06) for your 5/6/7 hitters:
.268 .320 .411
.260 .300 .384
.254 .288 .441
That's ugly. Really ugly. In essence, you're following your cleanup hitter with three Pedro Felizes in a row. Plus, don't you want to break these guys up so it's harder for the opposing manager to choose a reliever in the late innings?
What to do? Two quick fixes:
- Move Winn up. Against right-handers, Winn and Durham are basically indistinguishable: .299 .358 .463 vs .277 .352 .462. Batting one of them cleanup while the other hits eighth is just silly. Even if you do think it's kind of cool when the number eight hitter is speedy.
- Get Klesko in the lineup. I've been pessimistic about Klesko and I still am, but with this roster, there's no choice but to play him every day against RHPs and see what happens. Maybe he can come back and maybe he can't, but there's really nothing to lose, because your alternatives (Aurilia and Feliz) can't hit right-handers at all.
Aurilia: .294 .362 .505
Molina: .340 .373 .566
Not only that, but little Ray really is a legit cleanup hitter against lefties:
Durham: .325 .386 .552
Follow Bonds with those three guys and you're going to light up the scoreboard like a pinball machine. Unfortunately, you have to sit down your leadoff man. Don't get fancy; just let Todd Linden hit leadoff against lefties. I know, I know, he's big and not particularly fast, so he doesn't look like a leadoff man; but he'll get on base more often than anyone else you have for the job. (Too bad about Jason Ellison, though -- would've been fun to see whether he was really a .320 .369 .476 hitter against lefties.)
So, to recap:
Aurilia or Feliz
Give it a try. You'll thank me later. You're on your own with that bullpen, though.