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Monday, July 15, 2013
Bruce Bochy messes up NL lineup

By David Schoenfield

Here's the National League lineup for Tuesday's game:

2B Brandon Phillips
RF Carlos Beltran
1B Joey Votto
3B David Wright
LF Carlos Gonzalez
C Yadier Molina
SS Troy Tulowitzki
DH Michael Cuddyer
CF Bryce Harper

You see the problem here, right? Bruce Bochy chose to hit his worst hitter in the leadoff spot. Brandon Phillips ranks 46th in the NL in on-base percentage. And yet Bochy has chosen him to hit leadoff in a game that will determine home-field advantage for the World Series. It's a little thing, but it could come into play. Why not hit Gonzalez leadoff? Why not be creative and hit Votto -- who leads the NL with his .434 OBP -- leadoff? Aren't you clearly better off with the potential of Votto getting three at-bats instead of Phillips? Or why not hit Harper leadoff, unless you're simply trying to put the kid in his place a little bit by hitting him ninth?

I also would have used Paul Goldschmidt at DH, not that Cuddyer isn't undeserving. But playing Votto at first and DHing Goldschmidt means you could conceivably get six plate appearances out of the those two, arguably the NL's two best hitters in the first half. Now they may have to share first base with Allen Craig and only get one or two PAs apiece.

The AL lineup:

LF Mike Trout
2B Robinson Cano
3B Miguel Cabrera
1B Chris Davis
RF Jose Bautista
DH David Ortiz
CF Adam Jones
C Joe Mauer
SS J.J. Hardy

A little less to nitpick here. It appears Jim Leyland simply decided to go R-L-R-L-R-L-R-L-R, which is kind of irrelevant since you do that in the regular season to make it more difficult for the opposing team from match up easier with its bullpen late in the game. But these guys will be out of the game by the time the NL relievers start getting in the game, so it wasn't necessary to do it. By the time the subs come in, you could have three righties in a row followed by three lefties. That said, I'd probably do a similar lineup, maybe going Ortiz-Bautista-Mauer-Jones in the five through eight spots to get another lefty hitter potentially up earlier against Matt Harvey.

Look, it's likely this will be irrelevant. But you never know: Maybe Mariano Rivera faces Marco Scutaro for the final out in the ninth inning and the AL up by a run.