Wednesday, August 3

Well let me tell you what I think...

And I will. Firstly, I apologize for being one of the creators of this blog and not contributing my thoughts more often. Or maybe you are thanking me for that. At any rate, I don't have the same amount of free time as our apparently bedridden friend JT, left to his own devices chugging Balantine's and Bukowski all day long.

OK, so here is my beef with the Cubs lately. The batting order(s). If you've read before you know how much I love Dusty Baker, so I won't go into praising him here, just let it be known that he has my respect and appreciation as our club's manager. That being said, why the hell is Burnitz protecting Lee in the lineup??? I've had this question floating around in my head for a little while now, and I actually attended the Phillies/Cubs game tonight and got to witness the results firsthand.

I know Dusty likes the lefty-righty-righty-lefty-righty-lefty-lefty thing he gets from the Lawton-Hairston Jr-Lee-Burnitz-Ramirez-Walker-Perez order. I also know they've been trying to convert Burnitz into more of a contact hitter since he's been with the Cubs, and I am exceedingly happy with his numbers so far this year. But he's put up most of the positive numbers when he was batting behind Ramirez, not in front of him. Ramirez has been (both this year and last) one of the most clutch hitters the Cubs have had on their squad, so if teams are going to intentionally walk Lee or throw him pitches he can't successfully hit, then make them pay for it by facing Ram-Ram next!

Case in point, the game I saw tonight: After Lawton got on base in the 8th and was sacrificed to 2nd, the Phils intentionally walked Lee. Burnitz then drew a walk to load the bases (which I know doesn't exactly make my point but...) and Ramirez was the one who came through in the clutch with a single to left that scored the only two runs for the Cubs of the night. Then in the 9th, we had men on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs and the Phils once again intentionally walked Lee. So Burnitz, with the bases juiced and 2 outs, promptly struck out. I love Burny and I'm not knocking him, and maybe Ramirez would have whiffed too, but at the beginning of the at-bat I found myself wishing that it was Ramirez up, and not Burnitz.

On to point tsvi. Now that we've attained a lead-off man in Lawton, why move Hot-Rod Walker to the 6 spot? Walker is a great veteran hitter who has always hit well towards the top of a lineup. So why move him to 6 in favor of Hairston Jr?

So for one more moment on my soapbox, this is what the better part of my lineup would look like: Lawton, Walker, Lee, Ramirez, Burnitz, Hairston, Perez (As of this coming Friday I would put Nomah at the 3 spot and move everyone else down one). And look -- you still have somewhat decent alternation in lefty-lefty-righty-righty-lefty-righty-lefty. What do ya'all think? Lend me your thoughts on this one.

Either way, Zambino had his A-stuff tonight, as he has had for a while now, and would have pitched the 9th inning, too, if his toe wasn't bothering him. Man it was great to watch him pitch...

So regardless of the batting order, the Cubs pulled out the win tonight, and I was as happy as the authors of the Puberty Press at the All Good Festival to be there (yeah, look up that reference, I DARE ya! Eat it, JT!). Now, on to MY bottle of Balantine's!!!


At 7:36 AM, Blogger JT said...

Personally, I think yr an idiot, but a damn reasonable one.

That batting lineup looks good, the only reason I can think of to put Hot-Rodd at 6 and Hairless at 2 is because Jerry is "faster". He runs the bases like Kobayashi eats hot dogs (oh yeah Hypo, beat that analogy), and Dusty gets so happy in the dugout when he sees his wittle center fiewlder wunning the bases oh yes he does.

Also, Hot-Rodd is a better hitter, and his presence at 6 and not 2 means the order is not front-loaded so that once the hapless opposing pitcher gets past Burny, all he has to deal with is a one-armed monkey, Blanco, and a pitcher.

Oh, and if the Cubs want to play that "small-ball" game that those crosstown jerks love, and a game that the Angels play better -- you know, lead-off single or walk, #2 hitter like Erstad puts on the hit and run or the sacrifice or lets #1 steal, #3 hitter gets the 1-out RBI chance -- then it makes sense to have a weaker hitter in the #2 slot. Lee and/or Nomahh will still get the RBI chance, and Lawton will come home like Lassie so many times before him.

At 12:34 PM, Blogger Hyposquasher said...

i knew someone would make the argument about hairston being faster and that's fine. i just find it hard to believe that hairston can run from 1st to 3rd all that much faster than walker. and it's not like they actually ever have him steal a base.

as for your other arguments, i agree, you kind of make sense from time to time, but my bigger point still stands... Ramirez should be protecting Lee!!!

At 12:39 PM, Blogger Hyposquasher said...

and as for "a one-armed monkey, Blanco and a pitcher", 7, 8 and 9 spots, right? not 9, 10 and 11 or some crazy cricket lineup you use in Britain? Cause the way I stated it, the 7, 8, and 9 would be Hairston Jr, Barrett, and a pitcher. Hairston isn't a bad hitter, and Barrett has been lights-out for the last month or so. Also, we have some of the best hitting pitchers in the league. Last night Zambrano (hitting .245 going into the game) hit the ball very hard in at least 2 of his at-bats, and one of them was a sharp single right up the middle.

Nice try sneaking Blanco in there though.

At 12:45 PM, Blogger JT said...

Barrett has been on a "tear" lately, going 22-75 or so for the last month. He won't, however, if you keep sticking him at 8 in the lineup!

At 3:52 PM, Blogger Hyposquasher said...

21/68 actually for the last month. that's a .309 average. not too shabby at all from a tremendous defensive catcher. of those 21 hits, 6 were doubles, 1 was a triple and 2 were homeruns. that's an OPS of .944 which is great from anyone almost anywhere in the lineup. and 14 walks with only 10 strikeouts.

and he has the potential to keep hitting at that rate for the rest of the season, whether he's in the 8th spot or not. last year he hit a solid .287 (OPS .826) and i don't ever remember him hitting from anywhere but the 8 spot.

what's the point of this anyway, what are you suggesting in terms of barrett? i thought we were talking about Ramirez and Burnitz and Walker?


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