Time and time again we hear the same thing, “You have to protect the big bats in the line up.” Yet nobody has fully explained why. Where did this thought process come from?
I would ask, “What about the little bats? Where do they fit in?” A typical response would be “at the bottom of the line up”.
This never made any sense to me. If you stick the weaker bats at the bottom of the line up, aren’t you giving the opposing pitcher a chance at a one-two-three inning? Where is the logic in that?
I thought the point was to extend an inning for as long as possible. Make the opposing pitcher work hard until you can knock him out of the game.
Well, you aren’t doing that by giving him easy innings.
I heard that Jerry Manuel has decided to put Daniel Murphy in the number two hole. Many Mets fans love this move. I don’t. Most argue that he will take pitches. He’ll make the pitcher work.
Being born with an argumentative personality, I would ask, “But can he run?”
Here’s why I would ask that. Bear with me. You are going to disagree with me, but hear me out. While what I have to say my seem unorthodox, you will see it makes sense.
At the top of the line up you want speed and guys who can get on base. You have that in Jose Reyes and Luis Castillo. Say what you will about Castillo, he can get on base. Last year he had OBP of .370. He stole 17 bases on 19 attempts. Do you think Murphy can do that? Probably not!
The top three guys in the line up should be Reyes, Castillo, and Carlos Beltran. You have speed and a lot of stolen bases with those three there.
Following them should be either Carlos Delgado, who with one swing of the bat can bring all of them home, and David Wright. You flip-flop these two guys.
After them should be, here’s where I’ll get the most grief, Brian Schneider or Ramon Castro. You have to bring in a smaller bat. Then put in Daniel Murphy and Ryan Church. Followed by the pitcher.
If you have this type of line up, you are forcing the pitcher to do what he is supposed to do, pitch. You are not giving him many options to walk guys intentionally. If you put all the weaker bats at the bottom, you give the opposing pitcher reasons to walk your bigger guys. They are not going to be afraid of the bottom of the order.
The Mets have tried doing things the orthodox way. Now it is time to change that. Being orthodox has not worked for this organization.