Lineups, but more news to come
So much for educated guesses. This is interesting. Here's today's lineup.
Watson - 8
Lopez - 6
Zimmerman - 5
Young - 3
Kearns - 9
Church - 7
Belliard - 4
Schneider - 2
Bergmann - 1
Still 90 minutes before I talk to Manny Acta about the decision, but I think it's a sound one. Lopez, who was the leadoff hitter to start the year, has that .285 OBP we talked about in the earlier post. This gives Watson a chance to do what he has been doing, and it adds a little punch to the bottom of the lineup in Belliard.
And let's use this as a little plug for Belliard. When he arrived at spring training, I couldn't believe that Acta and Bowden said this guy could play a great defensive second base. I hadn't watched him a whole lot with the Indians, and while I saw the Cardinals a lot in the postseason last year, he was in and out of the lineup.
But the guy is a player. Just a baseball player. Plays a deceptively good - and I'd say it's a "smart" - second base, is serviceable at shortstop and would be able to play third, I assume, if Zimmerman ever let him. He's hitting .297 with eight doubles and 17 RBI in 185 at-bats. In fact, I'd argue that he's valuable enough that if you can't trade him - and there's obviously a chance that will happen - he might be worth signing as a utility guy for the future. This team is going to have to have a bench to compete in, say, 2009, and who's to say you can find another guy who can play all four infield positions - and hit, too.
Just a thought.
Here's the Braves' lineup:
Harris - 7
Renteria - 6
C. Jones - 5
A. Jones - 8
McCann - 2
Francoeur - 9
Johnson - 4
Thorman - 3
Hudson - 1
That group has scored a total of one (1) run in the past five games. That is stunning. Listening to ATL sports radio (yuck) I was struck by the level of concern down here about this squad. John Smoltz was on what I assume was a paid appearance on air ripping the media for blowing the whole squabble between him and Chipper Jones out of proportion.
Let's take a look at some June stats for the Braves:
Runs - 70 (16th of 16 in N.L.); Nationals at 89 (T11th)
Batting average -- .252 (13th); Nationals at .273 (sixth)
On-base percentage - .301 (16th); Nationals at .321 (10th)
Slugging percentage - .365 (16th); Nationals at .399 (12th)
Smoltz, when asked on the radio interview I heard driving in, said playing the A.L. wore out the Braves, and that getting back to the N.L. schedule should help fix some things. A side-swipe at the Nationals? Take it how you will. Smoltz pitches Wednesday. He has lost twice to the Nationals this year. Could it happen again?
I'll get you injury updates when I have them. Guzman is not likely to be good.
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