Eight games in, and we ought to have a pretty good sense of what Lloyd McClendon is going to do with the lineup.
So here’s the chart, with switch-hitters in blue, and left-handed hitters in red.
|vs. RH||vs. LH||vs. LH||vs. RH||vs. RH||vs. RH||vs. LH||vs. RH|
|-Saunders 8th||-Saunders 7th||-Saunders 8th||-Saunders 7th|
Here’s how it shakes out:
- The top four have not wavered. Every inning of every game so far.
- That’s a massive vote of confidence in Abraham Almonte and Brad Miller (and, to a lesser extent, Justin Smoak).
- It looks like, except for some RH starters, Corey Hart is No. 5.
- Likewise, except for some LH starters, Kyle Seager is No. 6.
- Three out of five times vs. RHP, he’s chosen to stick with Hart rather than go with the “everyone-LH-or-SH-except-the-catcher” lineup. I think this makes sense. Hart is better than a platoon player and McClendon wants to get him rolling.
- It’s a three-way platoon in RF: Logan Morrison vs. RH, Stefen Romero vs. LH, Michael Saunders in the late innings vs. both. Has anyone seen that type of rotation before?
- Saunders has been a defensive replacement in more games than not. Of course, with Romero it’s an in-game platoon switch as well. With Morrison it’s defense only.
- I’m not really sure that Morrison is a better bet with the bat than Saunders, but McClendon seems quite determined to find out. Then again, Saunders has gotten at least one at-bat in four of the five defensive-replacement games, so Morrison only has three more PAs overall. Interesting.
- Dustin Ackley 8th and Mike Zunino 9th, unless Willie Bloomquist or, perhaps, Saunders is in the starting lineup. Those are pretty good hitters to have at the bottom of the order.
Barring injuries, there probably won’t be a lot of mixing it up. Bloomquist is the only backup infielder (yes, Ackley or Romero could play there, but the M’s don’t seem inclined to make it happen), so the opportunities to switch things around (other than the OF, which he’s already doing) are limited.