March 3, 2010

Thoughts On The Lineup

PITTSBURGH, Pa. / March 3, 2010

As expected, all the Pirates' regulars made the trip to Tampa for the exhibition opener today. I wouldn't take anything from the results (a 6-3 loss to the Yankees) but it does appear that today's lineup shows how John Russell will order his hitters.

1. Andrew McCutchen cf
2. Akinori Iwamura 2b
3. Garrett Jones rf
4. Ryan Doumit c
5. Ryan Church dh
6. Lastings Milledge lf
7. Jeff Clement 1b
8. Andy LaRoche 3b
9. Ronny Cedeno ss

1. If JR believes Ryan Church is the #5 hitter out of this group, we'll see him starting a lot of games.
2. I've seen arguments for batting McCutchen third. Cutch is the team's best hitter but he belongs at the leadoff spot. This is the spot he's been accustomed to, it gets him the most plate appearances on the team, and it gets him on base in situations where stealing second helps the team.
3. McCutchen and LaRoche are the only Pirates who are above average hitters for their lineup spot.
4. Once again the club lacks a true cleanup hitter. For this to be an average lineup, Ryan Doumit needs to play like his 2008 form.
5. The lineup would look a lot better if we had a legitimate hitter at shortstop.

I would guess tomorrow afternoon's Pirates-Braves game in Kissimmee will be a B game, with Clement and maybe one or two others as the only starters making the trip. Charlie Morton will pitch the first two innings for the Pirates.

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