Not to completely nitpick here, since these games are obviously not the most meaningful in the world, and if they were meaningful, then Casey Blake and Ronnie Belliard would almost certainly be playing through their minor injuries.
But can someone explain to me the lineup choices at the hot corner the last two nights? Last night it was Mark Loretta, who’s been absolutely worthless all season (particularly lately, with a horrific .246/.274/.281 in the last two months) and contributed a killer error. Tonight, it’s Juan Castro, whose season line might look okay, but that’s mostly because he had a 1.006 OPS on May 26 and a .511 OPS since.
Meanwhile, Blake DeWitt sits on the bench. No one’s suggesting that DeWitt’s the savior, and he was admittedly mediocre in AAA this year. It’s just that Castro’s 37 and has been an all-glove, no-hit guy for years. Loretta’s 38 and has been so bad this year that he’s probably looking at the end of his career. Conversely, DeWitt’s just 24 and showed plenty of promise when being pressed into service last year.
“Well, MSTI,” you’d say, before I punched you in the face. “The Pirates started a lefty yesterday, and the Padres are doing the same today. Loretta and Castro are both righties, while DeWitt’s a lefty. Gotta play the percentages!”
Hey! That would make sense! And it’s almost certainly what Torre’s thinking! Except, well, it doesn’t make sense. Partially, it doesn’t make sense because Loretta and Castro couldn’t hit off a tee right now, but mostly because DeWitt has a reverse split and is far better against lefties: in his career, he’s got a .676 OPS against righties, while he’s hitting .851 against lefties.
So, here’s what we’ve got. The younger player who can hit lefties and had some upside sits while two older players who can’t hit anyone – and let’s face it, their careers are over – play. Makes total sense!