Big ups to Sori for the walk off grand slam after another moron moment in the 11th where he didn’t even run on a ground out to third. It feels good to see this team hitting a hot streak at just the right time, but I came away from the game with a few questions / thoughts.
Lineup Shuffling – Kosuke got the night off tonight against the lefty, with ReJo in there to spell him. The offense suffered as a result. 0-for -12 combined. Johnson and Theriot simply couldn’t do anything at the top to set the table for the middle of the order, especially Lee who had a great day at the plate. In my opinion, Johnson isn’t really the guy I want at the top of the order. He looked confused at the plate tonight. I’d rather see Theriot lead off against lefties with someone like Milton Bradley hitting 2nd. In fact, I really wouldn’t mind a move for Bradley to the middle of the order against the righties as well. He seems to love to draw the walks and since he seems to have an allergy to driving in runs, why not hit him 2nd? Between Fukudome and Bradley, a pitcher has the potential to throw 15 pitches and have a pair of baserunners on for Lee / Ramirez / Soriano at the 3-4-5 spots. It’s worth a try. What’s the worst that can happen?
Along the same lines of lineup shuffling, would it have made more sense to hit Carlos in the 8th spot with Koyie Hill behind the plate? Hill isn’t really in there because of the offense. Wouldn’t that be the time to pull a LaRussa and go with the pitcher hitting 8th? Purists hate it, but I can see the value in it for someone like LaRussa with a guy like Pujols in that lineup. Then again, with Lee hitting the ball the way he has, why not try to get as many on base ahead of him as possible?
What’s Foxy gotta do? – Hill is an iron man behind the plate. We’ve seen that since Geo has gone down with the injury, but what I can’t seem to figure out is why Lou refuses to get Foxy in the lineup when he can. Is it really necessary to have him catch every game? Why not give Hill a night off every now and then if you trust Fox behind the plate, which obviously Lou does to a point or he wouldn’t have put him back there for a couple of innings tonight or awhile back? Fox can hit. I think we’ve all seen that so far at this level, so now it becomes Lou’s responsibility to get him at bats when possible.
Questioning Lou – I don’t question Lou’s decision to suicide squeeze with Fontenot in the 9th, despite it’s failure, but what I do question is the decision to leave Zambrano in the game to hit in the 7th inning with runners on 1st and 2nd and two outs. It was clear that Z wasn’t going to come back out to pitch the 8th. While Zambrano can handle the bat, when he’s up at the plate he’s thinking one thing and one thing only….HACK. That’s not the approach I want in that situation. I’d have rather seen Lou pinch hit in that spot in an effort to push that run in and get Z a chance at a win.