Astros Opening Day Line-up?
Was Friday’s victory over the Phillies a glimpse into what we’ll see come opening day? Cooper fielded this starting line-up:
1. Kaz Matsui (S)
2. Ivan Rodriguez (R)
3. Lance Berkman (S)
4. Carlos Lee (R)
5. Miguel Tejada (R)
6. Hunter Pence (R)
7. Geoff Blum (S)
8. Michael Bourn (L)
Starting Pitcher: Roy Oswalt
I can’t say I’m a huge fan of this batting order, so I hope it’s not set in stone. In particular, I’d really like to see Hunter Pence batting 2nd. He’s had trouble with breaking pitches, and hitting in front of Berkman should increase the amount of fastballs he gets, particularly if a speedy Matsui or Bourn is aboard. Plus, Pence is faster on the basepaths than Pudge.
The top of the order isn’t all about speed, though, it’s about on-base percentage. I know, Pence doesn’t often see ball four, but Pudge is known for never taking walks. In his career, Pudge has struck out three times as often as he has walked. In 2007, Pudge had only a .294 OBP, walking only nine times the whole season. Last year he picked up the pace, with twenty-three bases on balls. Pudge has a .339 career OBP, mostly from his career .301 batting avg. Pence’s career on-base? .336!
A young guy and an old guy with virtually identical on-base percentages. One on the rise, the other declining. Both righties. One with above average speed, the other with above average speed… for a catcher.
Coop, you’ve gotta bat Pence 2nd and Pudge 6th.
Also, I know this is super-trendy and all, but I’d like to see Bourn batting 9th, with the pitcher in the 8 hole. What’s the point of having Bourn’s speed in front of the pitcher’s spot? A pitcher should be capable of laying a decent enough bunt down for Blum to advance. I’d much rather take advantage of Michael Bourn’s occasional hit or walk after the pitcher made the final out in the previous inning. It’s like keeping him as the lead-off man, but without having to see him bat so many times. Also, Matsui’s career numbers are much better in the 2nd spot in the order. So, maybe that could be a collateral benefit.
All I ask is for Cooper to put together a batting order that makes sense from day one and stick to it. No tinkering day to day, with Tejada batting second sometimes, and Bourn leading off every once in a while. Ol’ Scrap Iron Phil drove us nuts with that; we don’t need more of it. This line up has people that can hit, and I just hope we fans get to see it have a chance to come together the way it should, even if it struggles at first.
This entry was posted on March 28, 2009 at 1:36 pm and is filed under Uncategorized with tags Alyson Footer, astros, berkman, Carlos Lee, cooper, lineup, matsui, MLB, rumors, tejada. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.