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A Thought on Lineup Construction

I know the idea of speedy-leadoff-hitter followed by not-quite-as-speedy-preferably-lefty-but-able-to-"handle the bat" followed by best-hitter followed by second-best-hitter-with-power will probably outlive me.

That's the way lineups have always been built. And I know it only really matters anecdotally the first time through the lineup, and that statistically lineup construction is insignificant over the course of a season.

But I just checked out tonight's lineup on LoHud, and I can't figure out why Joe G. would set the team up this way:

Cabrera S, CF
Cano L, 2B
Abreu L, RF
Arod R, 3B
Matsui L, LF
Posada S, DH
Giambi L, 1B
Molina R, C
Gonzalez R, SS

Of special concern for me is the top of the lineup. We know Arod loves hitting behind Abreu, so let's lock those two in together. Matsui is one of the few who has looked good with the bat this season, so let's lock him behind Arod. That's all fine.

Cabrera makes some sense at the top- he hit is second homer of the season last night, but on the other hand those homers have been his only extra base hits. I want a guy who can crack some doubles ahead of Arod. That'd be Cano, and while he hasn't hit much, he did draw his first walk of the season yesterday. Since Abreu and Arod are the only players in the game tonight who figure to do more than go station to station, I'm fine with putting either Melky or Robbie ahead of them, but why both? Why not squeeze an extra AB from the two best hitters on the team?

And since Jason Giambi hasn't been hitting while Jose Molina has, I'd seperate the two righties (Molina and Gonzalez) by stick Giambi between them. The Posada-Molina-Giambi troika figures to be ponderous on the basepaths in any combination- it might as well be in a combination that will lump the better hitters together.

My lineup would have run Melky, Abreu, Arod, Matsui, Posada, Molina, Giambi, Gonzalez, Cano.