Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ordering the lineup
       In Wednesday's Dodgers-Giants game in San Francisco, Manager Joe Torre batted pitcher Eric Stults eighth and center fielder Juan Pierre ninth. The purpose was to have runners on base for slugger Manny Ramirez. With Pierre's speed and having the top of the order of Rafael Furcal and Orlando Hudson up next, Torre's move made sense.
Unfortunately, Giants ace Tim Lincecum shut down the Dodgers for seven innings and L.A. went on to lose, 9-3.
      Torre's move reminded baseball veterans of the 1958 All-Star Game in Baltimore. National League Manager Fred Haney produced a lineup that had Willie Mays leading off. Some questioned Haney's reasoning for putting a player who was arguably the best in baseball up first. The manager of the Milwaukee Braves'  thinking was similar to Torre's. He wanted Mays to have as many at-bats as he could get. And with an All-Star lineup that included Hank Aaron, Eddie Matthews and Stan Musial, there was plenty of power to drive in runs. 
Don't be surprised if Torre tries batting Pierre in the ninth spot again.

       Add lineup tinkering: The 1958 All-Star game was won by the American League, 4-3. Batting Mays first didn't help. The National League did not have an extra-base hit.

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