Thursday, June 24, 2010
Why is Ryan Church getting so many starts?
What is John Russell's obsession with playing Ryan Church so much? Please, someone tell me. Church should be the fourth outfielder on this team and nothing more. He should be a left handed bat coming off the bench and nothing more. He is on this team to be dealt at the deadline. Somebody will look into acquiring an extra left handed bat off the bench. Why then is he taking so many at bats away from Lastings Milledge?
Don't say it's because of the DH either. Even Delwyn Young offers a better bat to use as the DH rather than Church.
When you are sitting at 25-46, play your best eight players please. Russell shouldn't be worried about keeping guys like Church fresh. He offers very little to this team. He doesn't hit, he's average defensively and overall he appears to be a lazy ballplayer.
The Pirates signed him, hoping he could produce similar to what he did in 2007, when he hit 15 homers and drove in 70 runs for the Washington Nationals. Instead they got the guy that has combined to hit only six homers and drive in 53 over the last two seasons. If you look over a three year span, he's only hit 18 bombs and driven in 102 combined. I didn't mind the signing, but it didn't work out. Can we please stop running him out there?
Church's numbers on the season aren't good. He's hitting .186 with two homers and 13 RBI's in 129 at bats. Yet, Russell continues to bat him in the middle of the order. He is a rally killer. Batting him, or Ryan Doumit fifth in the order is asking for quick innings when the top of the order is getting on base.
What does he do better than Milledge? Not much. Milledge may not be the best defensively, but he's going to bust his butt for you, which is more than I can say for Church. Milledge may make some stupid base running mistakes, but at least he's being aggressive all the time, which is more than I can say for Church. Keep running Milledge out there. He should be the everyday right fielder until the club finds someone better. That option doesn't exist on this current team.
Sure Milledge offers no power, but neither does Church. Milledge is at least hitting a respectable .270 and has driven in 22 runs. He offers the team a much better bat with men on base as well, hitting to a .392 clip with RISP, while Church is hitting a whopping .161 in similar situations. How does that go ignored?
Do I feel like Milledge is the answer to all of the problems? No, of course not, but he is the best option at the moment. Now, Russell doesn't have great talent at the moment, but his sole job is to put his guys in the best position to succeed. He is simply not doing that. When your 21 games under .500, stop picking the lineup out of a hat and run you best eight guys out there everyday. There is no reason to see Ryan Church getting three or four starts a week, while Milledge is losing playing time.