Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Is It Opening Day Yet? Let's Talk The Yankees Lineup

It really needs to be Opening Day already. I'm getting kind of tired of not having games to watch. Between the slew of day games and the ones that aren't on TV, I feel like I'm missing a lot. !8 days and counting. Hurry up and get here.

The Yankees debuted their most-likely Opening Day lineup last night. For those that missed it, it went as follows:

  1. Jeter - SS - R

  2. Johnson - DH - L

  3. Teixeira - 1B -S

  4. A-Rod - 3B - R

  5. Cano - 2B - L

  6. Posada - C - S

  7. Granderson - LF - L

  8. Swisher - RF - S

  9. Gardner - CF - L

There's been a lot of discussion about the lineup recently. I might as well join in on the fun. For my money, it's pretty damn near perfect. Here's why:

  • It alternates pretty well with no same-side hitters hitting back-to-back. That's always a plus, especially once you start facing the bullpen. It'll cause opposing managers to use more of their bullpen if they want to play the L/R matchups.

  • Having Jeter lead off is the best thing the Yankees can do. It worked very well last year and is probably one of Girardi's best decisions. It will cut down on his GIDPs, something he tends to do quite often. If Gardner is on base ahead of him, there will be speed to either steal a bag and open up first to prevent the DP. Having the lefty Johnson hitting behind him should also cut down on the DPs if Johnson can pull the ball, assuming of course, he doesn't walk.

  • There was a lot of debate over who to bat 2nd, Johnson or Granderson. I've got to go with the OBP here and Johnson is an OBP machine. He sees a lot of pitches and he draws a lot of walks. Granderson is more of a free-swinger and tends to strike out. It makes perfect sense to back Nick 2nd and slide CG down near the bottom of the order. Since Nick sees a lot of pitches, Tex and A-Rod will get some good looks at what the pitcher has. It'll also drive up the pitch count and get the Yankees to the pen sooner.

  • The 3 and 4 holes are no-brainers. The reigning MVP hitting 3rd. The perennial MVP hitting 4th. Awesome. Tex took off last year once A-Rod returned from the DL. With a full season of protection from Alex (knock on wood), Tex could easily repeat as MVP.

  • Cano batting 5th? I like it. I think this spot could have gone 1 of 3 ways. Cano, Granderson, or Posada. Granderson has the pop but again strikes out a bit, so i think he's better lower in the lineup. Posada could hit 5th and will probably offer A-Rod a little more protection that Robbie, but than you stack 2 lefties together and I there's a bigger benefit to avoiding that than having Jorge bat behind Alex. Robbie is no slouch at the plate. He's a pure hitter and I think he'll excel batting 5th. Early prediction: Robbie will get some MVP love this year. I'm predicting he knocks in 120.

  • Posada batting 6th is the most logical choice with Robbie hitting 5th. He hits from both sides of the dish, so it again breaks up the lineup. He has some pop and hits for a decent average.

  • Granderson is best suited for the 7 hole. It's low enough in the lineup that the Ks won't have as big an impact. It'll sting a little against LHPs, but he's the obvious choice for the 7 spot.

  • Nick Swisher needs to be as far down the lineup as possible. To me, Nicky Swish will always be "The Rally Killer." His #s with RISP last year were horrible. If he has to kill a rally, I'd rather it be with fewer guys on base. I also like his high OBP at the bottom of the lineup. He'll be on base when the lineup turns over and that'll give the top of the order more RBI chances. I'd bat him 9th if the Yankees didn't have Gardner in the lineup.

  • Gardner's speed at the bottom of the order is a huge plus. It should help Jeter cut down on GIDPs. If he pulls off a steal it'll open up some RBI chances. I'm down with major speed in the 9-hole.

The Yankees lineup is set up beautifully. They're going to score a lot of runs this year. I don't think anything needs to be changed, but if anybody out there thinks it does, I'd love to hear the reasons why. Feel free to share.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,