…Juan Pierre’s hitting 9th tonight, according to Tony Jackson:
the rationale is that you can still bat Manny third so he comes up in the first inning, but in subsequent innings, you have three table-setters hitting AHEAD of Manny so that Manny, in effect, is batting fourth. And before anyone suggests it, no, it ISN’T because Joe thinks Eric Stults is a better hitter that JP.
I’d like to think that “he’s your worst hitter, so you’d want to make sure that he doesn’t get the most at-bats by hitting him leadoff” would be a pretty good reason, too. Actually, I have to hand it to Joe Torre. He’s made a whole lot of questionable decisions in his Dodger tenure (recently, his odd refusal to double-switch, thus putting pitchers in position to bat in late-inning pressure situations), but for someone with such a reputation for going “by the book”, putting Pierre 9th is a pretty outside-the-box decision by him.
I don’t even mind playing Pierre tonight, actually. After a fantastic start, Matt Kemp’s been slumping lately (.190 over the last 7 days) and going against Tim Lincecum is no way to break a slump, especially when he’s 0-4 with 2 K’s against Lincecum. Of course, nobody really has any success against that guy – other than Orlando Hudson, who’s got 4 hits in 9 at-bats.
Speaking of batter vs. pitcher stats, look at tonight’s Dodger starter, Eric Stults, against current Giants (via baseball-reference):
I know there’s tons of small sample size alerts going off there… but that is a lot of four digit OPS lines. Worse, the 1.106 total OPS would be even higher if you took out the five hitless at-bats from pitchers Barry Zito and Matt Cain, who I’m pretty sure we can safely say won’t be hitting tonight.
So if we’ve learned anything at all from when I do this… Dodgers 9, Giants 2.