(posted by One More Dying Quail)
Joe and Tim had a discussion last inning on the Alfonso Soriano and the problems created by his return from a recent calf injury. Somehow, they got around to talking about Soriano’s place in the batting order – should he stay at the top or should Piniella drop him lower was pretty much the dilemma they were considering.
McCarver’s thoughts? “Soriano should stay in the leadoff spot because that’s what he’s always done and if you drop him below the fifth spot in the order, you lose his speed.”
Oh, Tim. Tim. Tim. Speed is nice to have at the top of the lineup, I’ll grant you that. If you have somebody who is fast and can steal bases and “make things happen”, that’s good. But you also want someone who can get on base with some consistency, which Soriano has a tough time doing (career OBP: .325; 2008 OBP: .211). Everyone is the same speed in the dugout.
And as for utilizing someone with speed lower in the lineup…I realize it’s the American League, which has the designated hitter to screw everything up, but Julio Lugo is one of the fastest players on the Red Sox and he’s hit ninth in the majority of the games he’s played this season.
Personally, I’d consider using Fukudome in the leadoff spot. He’s an on-base machine. But that’s just me.
(I’m not going to devote an entire post to this at this point, but possibly the most ironic moment of the 2008 season just occurred: Tim McCarver saying, “Can’t a guy just be in a slump? Why does everything have to be a curse?” while they were talking about the various Cubs curses and the SI cover jinx. This from the same network that mentioned Babe Ruth in every other breath in the 2003 and 2004 playoffs.)
(Ha. “The one thing pitchers love to do is hit in consecutive innings. They know something good happened for their offense if that happens.” They won’t notice otherwise?)