FanPost

Yadi in the 2 Hole

I know this goes against TLR's near insistence on power in the 2 Hole going back to his days with Carlton Fisk and the White Sox, but after watching tonight's dissapointing game I can't help but think about what I thought was the key at bat of the night. Bottom 8 and Mather grounds into the 6-4-3 to end the inning and leave Pujols on deck and Lidge coming in for the 9th to face the heart of the order with a clean slate. Personally, I felt that Mather took a poor approach to the plate for the at bat against a pitcher who stayed away with sliders the entire time. After getting ahead 2-0 Mather fouled off the next two pitches and rolled over on the last one to bounce into the inning ending double play. It was clear they were going to stay away and Mather never looked to hit the ball to the right side, instead insisting on pulling the ball. The desired outcome for the Phillies is painfully obvious - get the twin killing to leave Pujols to lead off with no men on and limiting his damage potential. Yet Mather never made an adjustment and played right into the Phillies' plan. The most important outcome for the Cards after that at bat was having Mather on base, regardless of how he got there. Not only did he not get on 1st, but he wiped out the inning.

In re-thinking that at bat I considered what would have happened and what would happen on a nightly basis if Yadi was in the 2 hole instead. There are obvious negatives to this lineup change. One, Yadi is slow. He's not just slow - he's painfully slow. He's so slow that he makes Manny's 5.7 time to first look like a blur. This presents obvious problems in terms of clogging the base paths, nearly eliminating runs from first on Pujols doubles and increasing potential GIDP's. It also takes a power bat out of the 2 hole and moves it down in the lineup to the 6 hole which is normally manned by Yadi. However, I think it presents some benefits worth considering and might utilize his skills more effectively.

First of all, this team doesn't run anyway and while not being a moneyball adherent I feel like on this team especially there's little use for speed at the top. TLR admits we don't have legitimate protection for Pujols so opening first base on a steal does us no good. The guys behind Yadi are going to put together the bulk of the team's extra base hits which limits the need for the 1 and 2 hitters to get a steal or extra base by themselves to generate runs. Pujols is an aware, aggressive baserunner he's by no means fast, so it's not like your in danger of him overrunning Yadi. Yadi has a solid OBP of 355 which is better than anyone else besides Skip and the RBI guys. Bottom line in my mind is getting guys on base in front of #5 and Yadi gets on base. He has great bat control which allows him to go the other way. He rarely strikes out. He has 103 hits and only 19 XBH. Combined with his lack of speed it makes him a poor choice in the 6 hole because the guys behind him are going to need help generating runs - ie. someone who can steal a base or go 1st to 3rd - which he can't do. He doesn't generate any self-contained runs with occasional dingers and the problem with the lack of speed in hitting in front of Pujols exists with him in the 6 hole but is compounded by the fact that there are no run producers behind him.  The GIDP's from Pujols are more an issue of Pujols' lack of speed and because he hits the ball so hard the lead runner is going to be forced out regardless.

During and after tonight's game I just felt that Yadi would have given us a great chance to break that inning and the game open with a great approach and a great at bat. Furthermore I think it's at least worth experimenting with Yadi in the 2 hole, given that TLR experiments with so many different lineups. It would deepen the lineup and put a legitimate run producer - Ankiel or Mather - in the 6 hole to keep us from having to get our runs out of the top 5.

 

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