Thankfully the Blue Jays pulled off a walk-off win on Tuesday night, but after the game I still found myself wondering why Charlie Montoyo filled out the lineup card the way he did.
Just when it looked like the Blue Jays might miss out on another win they should have had, they managed to pull things out in the 10th inning on a Travis Shaw walk-off single with the bases loaded. It was a great way for the Blue Jays to open their homestand at their “new” ballpark in Buffalo, and nice to see them get on track with a win.
Despite the good feelings from the outcome, I still found myself shaking my head a bit when looking back at the box score. It wasn’t the use of the bullpen that I was second-guessing this time though, but instead it was how Charlie Montoyo decided to fill out the lineup card. I gave my opinion on the subject the other day, and while that was simply my opinion, I feel like most people can get behind the newer point I’d like to make.
You can’t use the designated hitter spot the way that Montoyo did on Tuesday night.
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There’s nothing wrong with getting Joe Panik into the lineup from time to time, as he’s a versatile defender who can play around the infield. However, Montoyo used him as the designated hitter against right-handed Marlins starter Elieser Hernandez. It’s understandable that he would draw the start against a righty, but why not use the former Gold Glover on defence?
I can understand that the Blue Jays are just coming off of an off-day on Monday, but I really believe that Montoyo needs to be looking ahead at the schedule with this kind of call. They’ll be playing 20 games in their next 20 days (including one off-day and one double-header), and their regulars are going to need a day off their feet from time to time. In my mind, that’s what Panik’s role on this team should be.
They could have DH-ed any of Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Randal Grichuk, or Teoscar Hernandez, and moved Cavan Biggio out to right field where he’s shown himself to be capable, and that would arguably improve the defence on the whole. They could have used the Panik start to give Biggio a half-day’s rest, or even done the same with Bo Bichette at shortstop. There’s always the option to move Travis Shaw to first and start Panik at third as well. That’s the beauty of the way this roster has been constructed, as it gives Montoyo a lot of options.
For what it’s worth, I mostly like the second-year skipper and I feel bad that I’m criticizing him again so early in this season. That said, it feels like a waste to use Panik at the DH, and based on what I saw on social media after the lineup was announced before the game, I don’t think I was alone in feeling that way. I don’t mean to target Panik either, as he’s a nice role player, however, I don’t think he should be getting starts as the designated hitter.
It was just one game and thankfully everything worked out for the Blue Jays, but hopefully we’ll see better use of Panik’s glove, and the DH spot for the remainder of this shortened season.