Sunday, April 25, 2010

Time to go back to a Traditional Batting Order

It was kind of fun bashing John Russell the other day so let's do it again. (For everyone that sent emails or text complementing me on the post- Thank You)

What is with the gimmack batting order? I'm tired of this already also.  Let's look at the numbers first. After today's game, the Pirates have scored in exactly seven of their last 60 innings. NOT GOOD.
They have scored three runs or less in ten of their 18 games, and the best one is......... Wait for it.......... They have been outscored 130-62 so far in 18 games.  That's a run differential of -68.  Again, NOT GOOD.

Now, most of the run differential can be attributed to the pitching staff (I will get to them tomorrow), but alot of it is on the offense just as well.

Problem 1- Why is Andrew McCutchen batting second.  I will tell you why, because John Russell wants to make things appear like he is managing this team.  It makes no sense.  By batting Cutch second, you take his aggressiveness away from him.  He's never gonna see a fastball to hit batting second.

Why? Because by batting Cutch second, JR has taken the guessing game away from the other manager.  With a guy on, are they ever going to bunt or hit and run with their best hitter?  Of course they aren't and the other manager knows that.  Therefore, he sees breaking ball after breaking ball with runners on until he gets to a three ball count.  Batting Cutch leadoff, he is naturally going to see more fastballs to hit because the other pitcher doesn't want to walk him, allowing him to steal a base or two.

Cutch's numbers are a little down, but he has had to work hard for what he's gotten so far.  Move him back to the leadoff spot and the numbers will begin to rise again.  Aki Iwamura is a more than capable two-hole hitter.  He can handle the bat.  He is better suited to bat second anyways.  They could take advantage of that ability to lay down bunts and hit and run with him.  I have no idea what the thought process going into batting Aki leadoff and Cutch second.

I don't want to hear about that by batting the pitcher eighth and Ronny Cedeno ninth, Cutch will drive in more runs.  Granted the math supports batting the pitcher eighth if you have an Albert Puljos, Ryan Braun or Ryan Howard.  Last time I checked, the Pirates didn't.

The numbers suggest it isn't working.  Through 18 games, the eighth spot (pitcher) in the order has stranded 32 base runners- nearly 2 a game.  More often than not, lateley; they've come up with men on and two out. In contrast, the 9-1-2 combo that Russell figured would drive in so many more runs have driven in a total of 16 runs- or less than 1 per game and only have 3 RBI's combined in the last 12 games. 

It worked for a short time early, with Ronny Cedeno benefiting the most batting in the ninth spot.  Now that Cedeno has cooled off drastically, combined with Cutch not getting good pitches to hit; it's time to realize that the experiment is flat out not working.

I could also go on about having Ryan Doumit in an RBI spot that he's not capable of producing in, but there isn't many other options for Russell there so i won't go on a rant about that. This apparantly is JR's form of managing, putting people in situations that they are doomed to fail in. 

Put Cutch back in the leadoff spot and Aki in the two hole.  Bat the pitcher ninth.  Andy Laroche will likely benefit from it as well.  Just another reason that John Russell has to go and has to go soon.  Again, Neil Huntington.  Make a change and make it soon


  1. Great point about Cutch not getting any pitches to hit. Not only does the other team know he's not bunting, they also know Cutch has no protection in the line-up. Lastings Milledge and Garrett Jone's monstrous .224-ish average really doesn't scare anyone. Give Cutch a chance to be successful or just trade him to the Yankees now.

  2. matt

    You are on a roll this week. another well written post filled with good points. maybe we can get you to manage the team. If you would take the job.

    All kidding aside though, i couldn't agree with you more. JR is wasting this kids talents.

    How long until you think we see tabata and pedro. They need bats in the lineup

  3. Thanks for the kind words and as far as your offer, I am going to have to pass. I've always wanted to manage a team but I think I will hold out for a college team that will spend more money than Bob Nutting.

    As for the Pedro & Tabata issue, while both are doing well in the minors, I have a feeling that the more the team struggles the longer it will take.

    They will use the team's struggles as a reason not to "rush" either to the big leagues

  4. he is a complete waste of space. there had to be someone better to hire.

    Matt, do you know if his job is in danger?

  5. they should bat the pitcher cleanup. im sure JR has thought of it

  6. why go back to a normal batting order. This one is working sooooooo well. another classic move by jr

  7. yeah i agree. lets end this madness. it's hurting more than helping.

  8. they batted cutch leadoff last night. maybe they are reading your blog and taking your advice.
    try writing something about trading for puljos and see if they do that