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Let’s Talk Lineups

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AL West News: Bobby Abreu is now on the Angels

If you are interested in AN Community Service, please read and recommend Nico's post.

After my post a couple of weeks ago on the A’s starting pitching, I was told that perhaps I came across too negatively about the A’s chances in 2009. In writing a preview of the season, I realized that I am optimistic; yet realistic. The A’s season is, by and large, going to hinge on the success or failure of the starting rotation. It will; however, be a nice change to not necessarily feel that the game is over when your starting pitchers throw up 6 inning, 4 run games on a consistent basis. The 2009 offense will be better than 2008, and I don’t see that as a bold prediction. It couldn’t be much worse.

In a perfect world, Eric Chavez will start the season for the A’s in April at 100%, with a full Spring Training behind him. Rather than anchoring the team himself, or cheerleading from the bench while Jack Cust tries mightily to create all of the team’s power, Chavez and Cust will be joined by Matt Holliday and Jason Giambi, turning the A’s lineup from the joke of 2008 into a serviceable team at the worst, and a run-scoring machine at best. 

There are those who say that lineups don’t matter, and to some extent, if you have nine superstars; they don’t. I wrote a post about this years ago on AN, prompted by Eric Walker, and The Sinister First Baseman. However, I think the A’s can create one that might score some runs, and at least give our young pitchers a chance to succeed. This was debated over and over at AN Fan Fest 2009; whether Cust should start in the 2-hole, who would back up Matt Holliday, and can the L/R splits affect late bullpen use?

I think if Travis Buck can prove that he belongs out there, then he should have the leadoff spot, but a case could be made for Ryan Sweeney there, as well. Travis Buck is like a box of chocolates, and is a virtual unknown quantity this year. I also hope that we get 2007 Ellis this season, instead of the 2008 version; I would bat Ellis behind the power hitters until he shows some sign of early success. Sweeney has shown some flashes of being a really good 1, 2, or borderline 3 hitter, and it will be interesting to see him hit with some legitimate power in the lineup around him.

I think the A’s pulled Suzuki up in the lineup for the sheer reason that he was having a better season than almost anyone on the field, but in a perfect world, he’s the catcher, and the hitting is bonus. Hitting him lower in the order also allows for some baserunners at the bottom of the lineup.

Crosby will hit ninth.

The four power hitters fit into the lineup like the math problem from junior high involving the ages of Benny, who is two years older than Sue, but one year younger than Greg. Someone good has to bat behind Jack Cust; if Cust is the lesser of two evils for the opposing pitcher, he will either see good pitches to hit, or become a baserunner for the batter behind him. That batter shouldn’t be Giambi, due to the L/L combination, so the job falls to Holliday, who should also have someone good behind him, which is Giambi. Chavez will be left out in the sixth spot, but for someone who has so long been a 3/4/5/ hitter when he either a) didn’t want to be ‘the guy’ or b) not good enough to be the main guy, sixth should be a welcome relief. Neither Cust nor Chavez has to be the superstar.

Of course, these lineups do not account for any late-minute additions, such as an O-Cab, or a breakout player in Spring Training (Rajai Davis; I’m looking at you!), or (God forbid!) injuries, but they’re probably the conservative guess of the nine players involved in the lineup.

I’ve taken two shots at it:

Travis Buck
Ryan Sweeney
Jack Cust
Matt Holliday
Jason Giambi
Eric Chavez
Mark Ellis
Kurt Suzuki
Bobby Crosby

Ryan Sweeney
Mark Ellis
Jack Cust
Matt Holliday
Jason Giambi
Eric Chavez
Kurt Suzuki
Travis Buck
Bobby Crosby

What do you think?

On a completely unrelated note, the A’s open the season in Anaheim this year for a four game series. Do any of my SoCal ANer’s want to go in on a block of tickets for Tues or Wed night, April 7 or 8? I think Monday the 6th will be too crowded; it’s Opening Day, and the game starts at 6:00PM. T/W/Th are all 7:00PM starts, but I can make Tuesday or Wednesday. I will contact the Angels ticketing office if there is interest, fill out the poll below, or email me at baseballgirl1976 at hotmail.

Poll

SoCal AN Day?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    Yes! Either day.
    (27 votes)
  • 1%
    Yes! Tuesday only.
    (3 votes)
  • 2%
    Yes! Wednesday only.
    (4 votes)
  • 78%
    No! I don't live there.
    (125 votes)
159 votes total Vote Now