Friday, July 08, 2005

Cox on Lineups

I implore you to get ESPN Insider if you don't have it. That way, when I link to articles like this one, I won't feel like I'm talking in a vacuum. Anyway, a few thoughts on Cox's comments:

1. His justification for batting Furcal in the lead-off spot is that he's too important to let slide. Bobby echoes Charlie Manuel's statement that Furcal is the key to the Braves' lineup (and possibly to the entire team.) Bobby looks at the potential reward of Furcal hitting in the lead-off spot, which is significant, and weighs that against risk of him continuing to eat up at-bats while getting on base fewer than three times out of ten. I was fully in the "move Furcal down" camp, but I see Bobby's reasoning and it makes sense to me. He certainly comes across as unafraid to step on toes by moving players down in the lineup, which is interesting since I assumed that he didn't want to hurt Furcal's feelings by demoting him to 7th. Chipper certainly moans about not hitting third when he gets moved to clean-up and Bobby might be thinking out loud in advance of hitting him lower when he comes back, given the way that Johnson and Giles are hitting in the two and three spots. It's hard not to read this paragraph and not think that it is a shot across the bow of the S.S. Larry Wayne (not that Chipper probably has ESPN Insider or anything):

"You know what I think? You ought to be happy to have a uniform on, and if you're in the lineup, you should be thrilled and you shouldn't worry about where the manager hits you. That's my philosophy. Because we're not trying to lose the game. We're trying to put a lineup out that wins."

Chipper's always been a good guy in the clubhouse and loves Bobby, so I'd imagine that he'll fall in line if and when he returns.

2. Bobby apparently shares my affection about Kelly (who desperately needs a nickname, by the way,) since he mentions him four times in the article. He also shows that he has thought about batting him lead-off because of his ability to get on base, which shows that Bobby isn't entirely a slave to the "must have a fast guy hitting first" mistake.


peacedog said...

If Furcal falls off the planet tomorrow you hit KJ leadoff and don't look back. He strikes out a bit much for my tastes but I think he'll learn. He's not a long term solution necessararily, but a guy getting on base twice a game is a powerful thing to behold.

Larry allegedly sulked some about hitting 4th, and he did have to poor years (injuries helped). However, you never really saw it in the media. I think that's the Cox mentality his players inherit. He was unhappy, but he's not going to try and wreck anything. Still, I wish he'd have responded better, because you're right. He may have to find a new spot in the lineup when he returns.

Michael said...

Wouldn't the five-hole behind Furcal, Johnson, Giles, and Andruw be perfect? He would get colossal RBI chances, although he'd be coming up with the bases empty a lot if Andruw keeps homering on anything close to his current pace. I suspect that Andruw isn't going to see too much to hit in the second half, which means the Braves are going to need a good bat behind him. Chipper, that sounds like a good role for you.

peacedog said...

He is - he's got a great eye and teams will be sorely punished by pitching around Andruw - assuming he doesn't revert and swing at junk. If he lets them put him on base - Chipper will punish them.

The time may need to come when you have to shift the battign order (say Johnson slumps badly - a possibility if picthers catch up). Then, you have a dilemna, but I think the right thing may still be Chipper behind Andruw. With Johnson's eye, though, I'm guessing he remains a threat up top.