I like Nyjer Morgan. I am not a big Guzman fan, but when he’s hot, he hits well. And I think he should be playing so that maybe someone will decide to try to trade for him. Still, I can’t look at this lineup order without getting sick:
- Morgan – CF
- Taveras – RF
- Guzman – Wherever
I’m sorry, but that has to be the weakest first three batters any starting pitcher has to face. I think Morgan has the potential to be a leadoff guy, a high OBP with no power to set the table. I think Taveras is similar, except for having the potential to be a leadoff guy and having a high OBP. Meanwhile, Guzman is hitting at the moment, but he is a free swinger with little power.
As a defender, Taveras is a good outfielder. But he is a career .275/.321/.328 hitter. He hasn’t had an OBP over .308 or a SLG over .300 since 2007. Geez, even put Willie Harris at the number two slot, not Taveras. Taveras had one good game so Riggleman thought he could bat second? Come on!
I know Zimmerman is out for a few days, but his spot shouldn’t be taken up by Guzman. If they want to bat Guzman second while he’s on a hot streak, that’s fine. You can argue all day about the real significance of a batting order. But as long as Zimmerman is out, the two other best hitters on the team, Dunn and Willingham, should not be sitting behind poor hitters. It’s like losing your best starter going in to the playoffs and replacing him with your worse. It doesn’t make sense.
Bump everyone up a slot. Put the order as Morgan, then Guzman, then Dunn, then Willingham. Or then Willingham followed by Dunn. Either way, burying your better hitters behind your worst hitter makes no sense. My biggest complaint, I guess, is Taveras at the #2 slot. But putting Guzman in the #3 is pretty ridiculous, too.
Is this all relevant, as the rest of the lineup isn’t hitting? I think so. If a pitcher is allowed to get comfortable in the first inning, it only makes it tougher to hurt him later on. Put a real lineup together, and then go out and try to overcome the poor starting pitching we know will be there.