No, not my partner in crime, but our ol’ friend and favorite whipping boy, Juan Pierre, also known in some circles as Slappy, or Herbert! After expecting to be out 4-6 weeks, Dylan Hernandez provides us with the following passage:
Manager Joe Torre said that Pierre, who was expected to be out for six weeks, could be activated during the Dodgers’ upcoming series at Dodger Stadium against Washington, perhaps as early as Saturday.
Now keep in mind the following: despite the fact that he’s become one of our favorite whipping boys here at MSTI, it’d actually be better for the team if he came back. Yes, that’s right: I am looking forward to the return of Juan Pierre.
However!… provided the following conditions are met:
1. His return gives Andruw Jones a long overdue trip to the bench.
2. He hits 8th.
To elaborate: Pierre, for all his flaws, and there are many, is still much better than Jones, and, therefore, deserves to start over him. No problem, there. And even if he doesn’t do well, I could deal with him hitting eighth, as opposed to his customary leadoff position, where he’d get the most at-bats.
Two problems, though. First off, according to Tony Jackson, Torre doesn’t seem ready to write off Jones, who continues on his monumental quest to have the worst offensive season in history, as we head into August. Perhaps this is just fluff until Pierre gets back, but that’s the official stance, as of now.
Diamond Leung provides us with the second problem:
“He doesn’t give us the power that Kemp gives us, but he knows how to lead off,” Torre said of Pierre.
O.K., let’s define what a leadoff hitter is supposed to do. A leadoff hitter is supposed to get on base, so he can score when the big bats (3-4-5) drive him in. So, what does this tell us? That on base percentage is very important in a leadoff hitter.
In the 79 AB’s that Matt Kemp has had in the leadoff spot, he’s hitting .316/.393/.532, .925 OPS, with 3 HR’s, and also currently sporting a nice 11 game hitting streak. So, lookie here…
Juan Pierre in the leadoff spot (207 AB’s):
.256/.294/.290, .584 OPS, 0 HR’s.
If Pierre’s numbers in the leadoff spot show that he “knows how to leadoff,” then what the hell do Kemp’s numbers show? And even if you want to throw out the argument that Pierre is fast, and that speed is a necessity for a leadoff hitter (which I don’t believe, but that’s another argument), it doesn’t really mean all that much when the guy he’s going to replace in the leadoff spot has 22 SB’s, which ranks him 2nd on the team (behind Pierre’s 35), and is stealing bases at an acceptable rate of 78%. So, he can hit for a higher average, far more power, he can get on base, and is also successful this season at Pierre’s lone virtue, running. But, no, give the most at-bats to the guy who can’t do any of that, except the last one.
Could Joe Torre be anymore of a schmuck?
Oh wait… I think he can:
“Hopefully the stuff he gained while batting leadoff will help him confidence-wise,” Torre said of Kemp.
Yes, because who doesn’t feel confident when, after being successful in a role, they’re moved down in the order to make room for a person who is a below average player? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Matt Kemp hitting leadoff is his calling, it’s not, but he’s having great success there, this year, and it’s utterly absurd to take him out of that spot and take away some at-bats from him for someone who flat out sucks in that role and then hope that this move will boost his confidence. Maybe Pierre’s, but I’m hardpressed to come up with a reason on why this is good for Kemp. I’m also not saying that he’s going to fall into a spiral because of this, he’s not, but it’s more the absurdity of sticking Pierre back at the top and insisting he does such a good job that’s so annoying. Imagine if Joe Torre was the manager of… say, other things:
“Vin, MSTI, I like your writing, I really do, but when I think of writing, I think of hard workers like Murray Chass(hole?), T.J. Simers, Bill Plaschke. They showed up to their jobs every day and early. So, they’re going to start writing more of the articles on this site; just don’t tell Murray that it’s a blog. Feel good?”
“Vin, we think you’re a fine broadcaster who has had some great moments. But we really like Charley Steiner and he KNOWS how to broadcast, and has an impeccable knack at reading flyballs. So he’s going to start broadcasting all the innings from the 4th until the end of the game on TV, as well. Does this make you feel confident?”
“Kobe, yes, you’re arguably the NBA’s greatest player… but we’re going to start giving Luke Walton more shots. I like his body language and he knows how to shoot. We hope this helps you.”
“Hey Paul, I’ve had this feeling and hunch lately that, while you write good songs, songs that have topped the charts and adored by millions, we’re going to start giving Ringo the most opportunities to write. Yeah, “Yesterday” was good, but Ringo knows how to WRITE!! We hope this boosts your confidence.”
“James, we think you’re great, but we’re going to start giving Maceo more leads. He can SING!! Feel good? I knew that you would!”
ARGH!! In any event, hopefully a sweep of Washington will make me feel better after the last two games. The pitching has been atrocious coming out of the break. How strange: if not for the offense, of all things, we could have very well finished a 3-3 road trip 1-5 or 0-6. At least we’re out of Denver and hopefully some home cooking will be just what the doctor ordered.