This new lineup isn’t a temporary thing

The last 2 games have featured Magglio Ordonez hitting 3rd and Miguel Cabrera hitting clean-up. That’s going to last awhile, like into next season.

I don’t think lineups make a huge difference, but it never felt right having a hitter like Cabrera batting below the clean-up spot. And with Leyland not liking to shuffle guys, it meant having some unusual players hitting 3rd. No disrespect to guys like Marcus Thames or Ryan Raburn, but when you have Ordonez and Cabrera the previously mentioned guys shouldn’t be pushing them down in the order.

As for Leyland’s thought process for the sequencing? It was up to Magglio.

“I told Magglio, ‘You’ve got your choice of where you can hit, third or fourth.’ He took third.”

As I mentioned I’m not a big lineup guy, so this seems like the perfect way to give veterans a say and keep them happy and comfortable.

28 Comments

  1. Kyle J

    August 15, 2008 at 12:26 am

    I like it. Granderson-Polanco-Ordonez-Cabrera is a pretty darn good way to start the lineup. The question is whether the Tigers will have enough beyond those four spots next year.

  2. Joel in Seattle

    August 15, 2008 at 2:20 am

    Since Leyland decreed this “permanent” change, I predict that they’ll be back to hitting 4th and 5th by next week.

  3. Ian C.

    August 15, 2008 at 7:44 am

    I like this move, too. Maybe it’s antiquated thinking, but I still subscribe to the idea that the best hitter in your lineup should be in the #3 hole and top slugger should bat clean-up. If a batter gets on-base in front of them, now you have a scoring opportunity in the first inning, which you didn’t always have with Maggs batting 4th and Cabrera 5th.

    The only thing I don’t like about this, and this is nitpicking a bit, is that you now have three straight right-handed batters after Granderson. Having Guillen in there at #3 broke that up nicely.

  4. Mark in Chicago

    August 15, 2008 at 9:34 am

    Good point about the rightys, Ian. I agree with you. It’s pretty clear the Tigers need some left handed power in the lineup somewhere.

    I’m curious who they decide to hit behind Cabrera. Guillen did a good job protecting Maggs, but with all his injuries and general declining skills, I wonder if he can still provide that for Cabrera.

    A healthy Sheffield would be nice.

  5. Rick G

    August 15, 2008 at 9:35 am

    “Since Leyland decreed this “permanent” change, I predict that they’ll be back to hitting 4th and 5th by next week.”

    I agree.

    Signed,

    Carlos Guillen, your every day 1B 3B LF 3B

    Thanks Joel, you beat me to this. Why would anyone put any stock in Leyland’s plans for next year when it’s not even a given that he’ll be here, much less both of the players he’s referring to?

  6. Ryan In Brooklyn

    August 15, 2008 at 10:38 am

    I like this simply from the standpoint of number of plate appearances. You have to figure that every spot closer to the top of the order must be equal to a certain number of more PAs than the spot below. I have no idea how many we’re talking about, but I’m all for increasing PAs for Maggs and Gil, even if it only totals a handful extra per year.

  7. Chris in Dallas

    August 15, 2008 at 10:56 am

    I’ve only been advocating this since day one. Bully for me. Seriously, though. Think Ramirez/Ortiz in their heydey in Boston. That worked out OK. Granderson-Polanco-Ordonez-Cabrera = good. Now, about that pitching staff…

  8. Ryan In Brooklyn

    August 15, 2008 at 11:15 am

    OK, so I looked it up. Taking ’08 numbers for the Tigers so far, there’s anywhere from a 10 PA to 17 PA drop per descending spot in the batting order. You can figure that will increase by a few PAs by season’s end (we’re at about the 3/4 point now).

    Cabrera is averaging 1HR/21.4PAs (vs. 22.1 for his career). He’s averaging an XBH/9.6 PAs (9.3 career). So a move one spot up in the order could mean a couple XBHs, one or more of which might be a homer.

    It might not end up making any real world difference, but you never know if one of those extra PAs could resulting in a game changing AB.

  9. Chris in Dallas

    August 15, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Gil has taken the team lead (non Ramon Santiago division) in OPS+ at 131. He deserves to be promoted. This kid might be OK.

  10. Eric Cioe

    August 15, 2008 at 11:35 am

    If I were Leyland, I’d do something even more unconventional – Polanco, Maggs, Granderson, Cabrera. I think Granderson and Cabrera are going to be the 3-4 hitters for a long time. Magglio as he ages will probably move to 5.

  11. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 15, 2008 at 11:51 am

    I was thinking about the lefty/righty thing and the purpose of batting orders when I stumbled down a different avenue and came across the following:

    Tigers LHB 28.4% of total PA (1345) .314 BABIP
    Tigers RHB 71.6% of total PA (3412) .299 BABIP

    The difference seems a bit wider than I would have thought.

  12. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 15, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Cabrera definitely belongs at cleanup. And I do continue to wonder when Granderson will be moved to #3. Not this season, I know, but next?

  13. Jeff

    August 15, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Take the number of games a guy plays, divide by 9, that is the number of extra plate appearances if he moves up 1 spot in the order. Obviously there will be some random variance, but that’s the average.

  14. Mark in Chicago

    August 15, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Cabrera sucks. He’ll be out of baseball within 2.5 years.

    –Chris

  15. Carolyn

    August 15, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    I’m happy about this move, albeit a bit late. Still, I dream of the day when Cabrera has a big bat batting behind him.

  16. Andre in Chi

    August 15, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Ouch…long memories here!

  17. Mark in Chicago

    August 15, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    That isn’t very nice of me, Andre, but when somebody says such ridiculous things, they really should be harrassed, ridiculed, and made an example of.

  18. Andre in Chi

    August 15, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Mark,

    the other half of my heritage is Irish…so i know all about not missing a chance to remind somebody of past indiscretions. its not so much that i thought it was “mean”…i’m just worried about past comments haunting me!

  19. beejeez

    August 15, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    I think Mags and Cabrera are just fine at 3 and 4 this season, but Leyland would be wrong to lock in that batting order in the long run if either Guillen or Shef can perform in 09 at even 90% of his potential-when-healthy — in which case I’d prefer either at No. 3. Leyland would, too.
    It’s not the righty-righty-righty thing with Polanco-Mags-Cabrera that worries me — those guys hit everybody. But I fear there will be a lot of LOBs and DPs when we run those 3 leadfoots out there in order every day. We’re about to find out.
    O’ course, if Guillen and Shef both return to form, the Tigs could draw the first 6 spots out of a hat every day, run all-glove men out there at SS, C and LF and still win 95 games. Mind you, that’s with an even bigger IF: a halfway decent pitching staff.

  20. Ryan

    August 15, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Meh. Lineup order is far less important than lineup composition.
    Less Sheff/More Joyce would actually be a story.

  21. Chris in Dallas

    August 15, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Mark: That was another Chris. Not this Chris. The one with the prescription for stupid pills.

  22. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 15, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    Yo dudes, a word, please? (Can I begin a somewhat serious post more stupidly?)

    I’m not sure, but I think there are 2 “just plain” Chrisses (how in the world are you suppose to pluralize this name?). I think the Chris whose name comes up in orange (at least in my browser) is the famous Chris.

    Anyway, yeah, this Chris said some questionable things about Cabrera. But he was either “disciplined’ or at least chastened by Billfer for it, besides being roundly mocked here while the posts were being made and for a time thereafter. He’s not doing it any more, so let’s forgive and forget.

    I thought it was harmless nonsense, myself, but I guess we all have different tolerances. Be glad that DTW is almost entirely free of angry flamethrowers, like that one guy who was around briefly early in the season. Yikes!

  23. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 15, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    “O’ course, if Guillen and Shef both return to form, the Tigs could draw the first 6 spots out of a hat every day, run all-glove men out there at SS, C and LF and still win 95 games. Mind you, that’s with an even bigger IF: a halfway decent pitching staff.”

    Not that I expect Sheff to return, but that’s an excellent point overall.

  24. Chris in Dallas

    August 15, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Sean: If it makes any differece, my full name is Christian, not Christopher. So yeah, refer to me as that so I can know which insults are directed at me.

  25. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 15, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Christian. That’s cool. Can I call you Sister Christian? (Token insult, just for fun, just to test the system).

    OK, maybe I’ll be more subtle about it and call you Night Ranger.

    Time to go get some good stats and pay my dues…

  26. Andre in Chi

    August 15, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Chris,

    Please tell me your last name isn’t “Slater”

  27. Mark in Chicago

    August 15, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    Yeah, I’m pretty much just being a jerk for no reason. But I knew it wasn’t you, Christian in Dallas, TX, USA.

    Sorry to the real Chris who made the comment. I’ll stop being a jerk now.

  28. Dave BW

    August 15, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    You weren’t being a jerk, Mark. Orange Chris had and has it coming. The guy was posting his anti-Cabrera tirades in every thread multiple times a day. He scared away some good posters for weeks, and generally made these threads a drag for the first month or two of the season.