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March 27, 2008

Opening Day Lineup

Per T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com:

Manager Ron Washington has set his Opening Day lineup. Here is what [lefty] Erik Bedard will be facing

2B Ian Kinsler
SS Michael Young
CF Josh Hamilton
3B Hank Blalock
DH Milton Bradley
LF David Murphy
RF Marlon Byrd
C Gerald Laird
1B Ben Broussard

Yes, Washington is going with Blalock at cleanup hitter. He said Bradley is not ready for the role and Blalock has convinced him that he can bat cleanup. Frank Catalanotto will be on the bench for Opening Day but will still be out there plenty against right-handed pitchers. Broussard will bat last.

Texas has never had an Opening Day first baseman hit ninth. Here’s the previous 36 years:

1st -- 1
2nd -- 3
3rd -- 12
4th -- 3
5th -- 10
6th -- 4
7th -- 2
8th -- 1
9th -- 0

Mike Jorgensen played first and batted 8th for the ’79 edition. He’d been a good hitter in the early 70s, but with Texas he soon lost his job to a younger Pat Putnam. Putnam hit 7th on Opening Day 1981, and Lee Stevens hit 7th for the ’99 offensive juggernaut.

I don’t get too bent out of shape about lineups, but: May I cautiously suggest that if a team’s first baseman is batting ninth on Opening Day, something is wrong. The player shouldn’t be in the lineup... the regular 1B is hurt... the manager is misguided... something.

Regarding Washington’s quote about Bradley, Milton has started 62 games at cleanup and batted .338/.447/.546. He also has more career at-bats in the #3 spot than anywhere else. May I cautiously suggest that Bradley could hit higher than fifth, even coming off an injury.

Interestingly, in light of the common knowledge that Broussard doesn’t hit lefties, he has a better line against them than Blalock: .227/.290/.399 versus .226/.280/.349. At least in terms of historical performance, Texas inarguably will have its worst lefty hitter batting cleanup, Washington's convictions notwithstanding.

Maybe this kitteh picture will relieve my frustration:

Posted by Lucas at March 27, 2008 01:55 PM