Unfortunately for the Pirates, Andrew McCutchen, while having been most productive in the 3 hole this season, has not been able to drive in the runners who’ve been on base ahead of him (only 16 RBI). Combined with Jose Tabata’s struggles leading off, this has no doubt led to the recent changes in the lineup moving McCutchen to leadoff, Tabata 2nd and Neil Walker up to 3rd from 2nd.
On the upside it looks like Neil Walker has found success whether batting 2nd or 3rd in the lineup, and Pedro "The Savior" Alvarez has of late got his bat going, hitting .289-3-6 over his last 10 games.
I don’t claim to be a statistical genius, or even a luke-warm statistician, instead I took a quick temperature of how the players have been fairing, and thought about how I (an arm-chair manager) could reset the lineup for more production. From that came this lineup, with a return to the pitcher batting 8th:
- Andrew McCutchen
- Neil Walker
- Garrett Jones
- Pedro Alvarez
- Lastings Milledge
- Ryan Doumit
- Ronny Cedeno/Bobby Crosby
- Jose Tabata
Earlier in the season, when Manager John Russell deployed this type lineup it was an attempt to score (.1?) more runs per game and it was sold by stating that McCutchen could bat 1st, yet have more opportunity to advance/drive-in runners. Cedeno, however, was not up to task at the 9-spot, but with Tabata showing some struggles leading off (and owning some good speed to boot), and a continued need for McCutchen to help placate the ineptitude of the rest of the lineup, I felt this was a reasonably good choice for both. I also think it's worth trying Alvarez at cleanup, since it's his riteful spot, and remarkably Jones has done pretty well hitting 3rd this season (.333-3-6 in 4 games - I know it's too small - but be damned with yer small sample size!)
What do you think? Is there any hope for this offense to turn it around? Will it happen if anyone is traded?