Forgive me. I’m still reeling from the Adrian Gonzalez trade. The guy looks damn good in Dodger Blue, doesn’t he??
If yesterday’s first at-bat is any indication, Gonzalez is going to be a huge addition for the heart of this order down the stretch. If Victorino-Ellis-Kemp-Ethier-Ramirez wasn’t enough to make those opposing pitchers’ white pants go brown, this new lineup certainly will.
We know Gonzalez is here to hit cleanup. The 3-4 spots are clear cut with him and Kemp. But that leaves two premier hitters haggling over that coveted 5th spot in the order, where RBI are out there for the taking.
Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez have playEd Huge roles for this team in their own way so far. It’s hard to fathom moving Ethier out of the six-hole after his second consecutive 4-for-4 game there yesterday. And I actually really liked Luis Cruiz hitting in the 2-hole.
But if you are Don Mattingly, don’t you want two of your four sluggers to have a guaranteed at-bat in the first inning, in order to get the game off on the right foot?
Personally, I’d prefer to see a lineup that looks like this:
1. Victorino, LF
2. Ramirez, SS
3. Kemp, CF
4. Gonzalez, 1B
5. Ethier, RF
6. Cruz, 3B
7. M. Ellis, 2B
8. A. Ellis, C
9. Kershaw, SP
But then you worry about a few things – what happens when a righty is on the mound. It’s not a huge deal, but it would be nice to have the lefty-righty-lefty-righty order in those four spots. Of course that would require swapping Ramirez and Ethier in that proposed lineup above, limiting the speed you have after Victorino.
Do you consider hitting Ramirez leadoff, Ethier second to get all four sluggers more at-bats? Move Victorino down to 5th or 6th? He’s hit there before.
I love how many options Mattingly has to play with in the lineup these days. No matter what, an opposing pitcher has to face at least five veteran, powerful hitters in the first two innings. Life is good in Los Angeles, but Mattingly’s job of balancing his star power just became more difficult.
How do YOU think the order should be arranged? Comment below and tell us!
You can follow Jeremy on Twitter @Jamblinman.