There’s a new Tiger blog, Dtown Baseball. It is authored by DTW commentor Eric Jackson. Eric did some further investigation into Tiger lineup configuration and examined the assertion that the Tigers used 120 different lineups.
Eric raises a great point that there are many distinct lineups, but that there was still considerable consistency.
He looked at the top 5 spots in the lineup and found that the sequence of Granderson-Polanco-Rodriguez-Ordonez-Guillen started 51 times and averaged 4.76 runs per game. He also found a bunch of other stuff and it’s definitely worth a read (plus there’s a graph).
Now considering the Tigers averaged 5.07 runs per game, a third of the time they were trotting out a lineup that performed less than optimally. The next most frequent occurrence of the top 5 was 9, so we can’t really say what was a better set-up.
A couple notes on this…
First, compared to Eric’s analysis I feel I need to add something of my own, so I’ll just say that in terms of complete lineups, there were 101 games which featured lineups that were only used once. And that the most common lineup was deployed on 6 times (Granderson-Polanco-Rodriguez-Ordonez-Guillen-Thames-Monroe-Shelton-Inge). Yes this pales in comparision, but hey at least it’s something.
Second, batting Polanco and Rodriguez in front of the 2 best hitters in the lineup (Guillen & Ordonez) that frequently probably had an adverse effect on run scoring. This of course isn’t a surprise, but the run production with those top 5 further confirms what the conventional wisdom says.