Gratuitous and Arrogant Line-up Posturing

Few things are more unoriginal than a baseball blogger publishing his opinion about his team’s messed up batting order and making up his own. It is truly the lowest form of blog, as predictable and malodorous as what babies do in their diapers.

baseball-oldSomehow the team manager missed the magnificent combination of players revealed to the blogger at 3 in the morning, making him sit bolt upright in bed and grab for a pen and writing pad. The result is an epiphany of baseball brilliance which must be shared with the world. Funny how it never occurred to the manager, the guy who is supposed to be the baseball expert but seems to somehow just not get it.

Right.

Actually, I didn’t wake up in the middle of the night when an awesome Giants’ line-up popped into my fertile mind. And no doubt San Francisco Manager Bruce Bochy forgot more about baseball last Tuesday than I could possibly know all year. 

It’s just that watching the Giants play the past month has become so damn tedious and depressing. Something radical has to be done before we wake up on Thursday morning September 29th and realize that the Arizona Diamondbacks are scheduled to start the National League Division Series on Saturday October 1, 2011 in Atlanta.

So here is the batting order I would like to see written on the Giants’ line-up card presented to the home plate umpire at the start of tonight’s game against the Houston Astros at AT&T Park. That would be the 43-88 Houston Astros, the worst team in baseball by a lot who have somehow found a way to win 3 out 4 games from the 2010 World Champions over the last seven days. [Additional note: And the Astros did this after trading away their two best players-- Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn.]

1. Cody Ross
CF
Here are the four highest OBPs among the starters: 1) Sandoval .347; 2) Belt .341;
3) Schierholtz .326; 4) Ross .320. But Sandoval and Belt are two of three players (along with Beltran) who can actually drive in runs, so they cannot lead off.
Also, it’s time to stop having Schierholtz displace Belt or Ross in the outfield. Despite doing a little better at the plate this year, Schierholtz is what he has been throughout his entire career– a great 4th outfielder and good late inning PH.
2. Jeff Keppinger
2B                                      
No question here. Keppinger is one of the three best hitters on this team and he can hit situationally as well or better than anyone else on the roster.
3. Carlos Beltran
RF
Beltran hits third because he needs to have as many at bats as possible between now and the end of September if there is any hope of scoring enough runs to overtake Arizona and win the Division. Period.
4. Pablo Sanchez
3B
Sanchez is the MVP hero of the 2011 season– hitting when everyone else was out to lunch and playing inspired defense at third base. He is the heart and soul of the 2011 San Francisco Giants offense.
5. Brandon Belt
LF
Time to move Belt out of the 7th hole and into a position where his extra base hits can drive in runs. Sure he’s a rookie and moving him into a more responsible position in the line-up is chancy, but a rookie catcher (for gosh sakes) led the 2010 Giants to a World Championship. Belt’s excellent OBP also helps extend innings deeper into the line-up.
6. Aubrey Huff
1B
Aubrey Huff is having the poorest offensive year of his career, but he is a starting player on this team. If he clicks in and those doubles start bouncing off the walls at AT&T Park, having Sandoval and Belt in front of him could start to pay off.
7. Catcher Eli Whiteside and Chris Stewart have ably handled the Giants outstanding pitching staff; anything they can do offensively is an extra added benefit.
8. Pitcher The Giants need as many runners on base as possible in front of Keppinger, Beltran, Sandoval and Belt. A “second lead-off” hitter batting 9th is an innovation that managers like Tony LaRussa have used to spark their offense. It’s time to step out of the box and get innovative and creative to jumpstart this team’s run production. The Giants also have several starting pitchers who can actually put the bat on the ball (Jonathan Sanchez is hitting .207, Ryan Vogelsong .186, and Madison Bumgarner hit .179 in 2010).   
9. Orlando Cabrera
SS                      
There is little left to choose from for the second lead-off hitter in the 9th spot. Bruce Bochy is currently batting Cabrera at leadoff so he should qualify to bat 9th, and that veteran presence could actually pay off in this role.
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