Lineup Change No One Saw Coming
April 9, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Adam Lind (26) hits a double in the ninth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY SportsIt’s funny how if you follow a baseball team every day how you can get used to the lineup order they use from day to day. You can get so used to the lineup order that when a change is made you actually get shocked.
That was the case when the Toronto Blue Jays switched Melky Cabrera and Adam Lind in the lineup. Melky went from number 2 to number 5 and Lind went from number 5 to number 2.
The first reaction is “ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME GIBBONS!!?! It’s bad enough Lind has been hitting 5th!” Or maybe Lind has good numbers against the starting pitcher the Jays are facing because there’s no way they could keep Lind in the 2 spot.
Until you realize Lind actually has the best on base percentage on the team so far, at least the healthy part of the team.
If someone told you Lind was going to have the best on base percentage on the team 3 weeks in, 8-13 would sound about right.
If someone told you Munenori Kawasaki and Adam Lind were going to be the Jays 1 and 2 hitters in the 21st game of the season you probably would have been impressed by 8-12.
Most of the time it would be better to set your lineup according to the last 2 years and not a small 20 game sample. But the Jays offense has been so garbage to start the season that you can’t blame Gibby for going with the hot hand and seeing if it works.
With Lind currently getting on base more than the Melk Man the 5th spot is a good spot in the lineup for Melky. He has the 2nd best on base percentage among healthy Blue Jays regulars. And it’s not like he’s not taking the 3 or 4 spot in the lineup away from Bautista or Encarnacion anytime soon. Melky would make a good leadoff man but Kawasaki sees more pitches during his at bats so 5th is almost perfect for Melky right now.
Rasmus and Arencibia have OPS’s 200 points higher than Melky but they strike out too much to hit 5th. With guys that are good at getting on base hitting at the top of the lineup the Jays need someone who can put the ball on the play consistently to drive in those base runners in the 5th spot which Melky can do.
You’d hope Lind having a good on base percentage at the start of the season would just be a pleasant surprise and a bonus to an already dominate offensive team so that he’d continue hitting down in the lineup.
Instead the Jays are hoping Lind can continue getting on base in the 2 hole while the rest of the lineup tries to get its act together.