You’re leaving that guy on the bench?

October 27th, 2007 → 12:14 pm @ // No Comments

Way back on Monday, I raised the question of which of the big four bats—Manny, Ortiz, Lowell, and Youk—was going to be on the bench when the Series moved to Denver. In 2004, this wasn’t a problem; as Bob Ryan put it, your Aunt Ethel knew to start Ortiz over Millar and Malphabet. This year, not so easy. Sitting Youk, as Francona has announced he’s doing, is without a doubt the easiest way out; Lowell’s a veteran entering into free agency; Papi has fully earned his reputation as one of the best playoff performers ever; and Manny is, well, Manny.

But Youk is having one of those unconscious runs that deserves to play itself out. So what to do? The always insightful David Laurila made an interesting suggestion in a recent Baseball Prospectus piece: play Youk at short. Laurila brings up the ’68 Series as precedent, when Tigers manager Mayo Smith started centerfielder Mickey Stanley at short. Now granted, Stanley was filling in for Ray Oyler, a career .175 hitter who batted .135 in ’68; Lugo, for all his struggles, is a legitimate MLB hitter. But he’s not Youk, and he’s definitely not Youk when the Great Goateed Jew is on a hot streak.

There are good reasons not to do this; what’s disappointing is that outside of Laurila’s piece, the notion isn’t even being discussed. That’s indicative of the ways in which managing a baseball team has become more rote, which does leech a bit of the fun out of the game. At least for me, but I’ve always been someone who’s enjoyed a bit of bad craziness in his life.

Post Categories: 2007 World Series & David Laurila & David Ortiz & Kevin Youkilis & Manny Ramirez & Mike Lowell

2 Comments → “You’re leaving that guy on the bench?”

  1. iayork

    16 years ago

    Offensively, Youks over Lugo accounts for something like an extra 1/4 of a run per game.

    I love Youks’ defense at first. At short? Lugo gets at at least one extra ball per game than Youkilis, and each extra baserunner is something like 0.8 runs. There’s no way Youks at short is an overall upgrade.

    What’s more — We’re taking a big defensive hit at first already, and Manny is in a cavernous left field — why on Earth would you reduce our defense still more?

    The reason there’s not more discussion of the notion is that it’s a pretty dumb idea, not that people are rigid adherents of mainstream.


  2. kinshane

    16 years ago

    “Great Goateed Jew” is much better than “Greek god of walks”. It is more accurate and maintains some nice alliteration. Intriguing idea, Youk at SS, but I think it is a bit crazy to put him in such an unfamiliar position in an unfamiliar ballpark in the World Series.


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