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A Lineup Suited For A Night, Road, Grapefruit League Game

People think spring training is about preparing guys for the season, about making sure pitchers get their innings in and hitters get their at-bats. Really, it's about juggling the needs of veterans and making sure people don't make two road trips in a row or start whining about how much time they're spending on the bus.

With three road games in a row (Lake Buena Vista, Kissimmee, Port St. Lucie), that's what Manny Acta faced. And that's how you get a lineup like the one I'm about to lay down on you:

Alex Cintron -- 6
Ronnie Belliard -- 4
Elijah Dukes -- 8
Brad Eldred -- 3
The Weapon -- DH
Joel Guzman -- 5
Justin Maxwell -- 9
Jorge Padilla -- 7
Gustavo Molina -- 2 (not related to any of the famous catching Molina brothers)

Scott Olsen will take the hill, followed by Ryan Wagner, Mike Hinckley and Tyler Clippard.

Tomorrow's road trip to face the Mets for the 48th time this spring will feature Nick Johnson, Austin Kearns and Corey Patterson, but no Ryan Zimmerman. Also, in the kind of sneaky bit of maneuvering that happens in spring training, John Lannan will throw in a minor league game in Viera rather than facing the Mets. That duty will go to Sharon Martis. This will prevent the Mets from getting another look at Lannan before the season starts.

The Astros will field a more major league-like lineup tonight:

Kazuo Matsui -- 4
Michael Bourn -- 8
Lance Berkman -- 3
Carlos Lee -- 7
Hunter Pence -- 9
Geoff Blum -- DH
Aaron Boone -- 5
Jason Smith -- 6
Humberto Quintero -- 2

This looks like a mismatch -- except, um, somehow, the Astros are 1-11-1 this spring. They won the opener against Washington. That's hard to do.

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 13, 2009; 4:19 PM ET
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"This will prevent the Mets from getting another look at Lannan before the season starts."


Aha! Very interesting. This is why I LOVE your posts, Barry.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 13, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

(they're spending: subliminal proofreading elf)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 13, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

It is an interesting tidbit about Lannan.

Wow, I didn't realize that about the 'Stros.

We'll miss you, Barry. Will you stay over the weekend?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 13, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

sweet little nugget indeed

Posted by: bford1kb | March 13, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

either eldred and weapon combine for 6 HRs in the game or 6 Ks, and nothing in between

Posted by: formerlylove | March 13, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

The top-5 in tonight's Astros lineup = Starting day quality; the bottom four = meh (A.Boone at 3rd - really?).
This weekend set of road games for the Nationals' will probably be the big-club wrap up for more than a few of these guys. Read up on them while you can, more than a few of them will get re-assigned after St. Patricks' day.

Posted by: BinM | March 13, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Pitching IP targets should be: Olsen 4.0, Wagner 2.0, Hinckley 1.0, Clippard 2.0, with Glover as the "fall-back" option. There is audio for tonight's game on, for anyone who's interested (HOU brodcast team, I believe).

Posted by: BinM | March 13, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

BinM, don't bring the wrath of A.F. Boone upon us.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 13, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

1a1: You know, I considered referencing him as you did, but took the "road less travelled" in that regard. My point was rather that the 'stros would start him at 3B.

Posted by: BinM | March 13, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

A. F. Boone is a prime candidate for 3b for Houston - maybe a platoon, but they expect him to play a ton of games there. Meh indeed.

Posted by: utec | March 13, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Great story, except Yurendell de Caster is hardly a nationals prospect. He was signed with the Tigers in February. Not a good catch, WAPO fact checkers.

Posted by: elondon1 | March 13, 2009 3:41 PM

So, in using JayBee's logic, Barry (or Tracee, whoever wrote the story) should publicly lament the poor editing and contend that the editor of the Sports section is a slacker.

Posted by: jfromPG | March 13, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

I see a number of you have checked out Bill Ladson's new blog. I can't remember my MLB passwords, but when I do, I am trying to figure out what to say. I mean, it seems that Ladson is often in a different world than we are, praising the unpraisable, and putting forward theories about the team that confuse us.

I think I will consider it "thinking outside the box," and try to engage.

Posted by: kevincostello | March 13, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Jest if you must but the errors made by this organization in 2007 and 2008 will be repeated unless the problems that crated them are explored and aired. In the Gilded Age this was call Muckraking. Now we call it Jayb being negative.

What keep Lenny Harris employed may or may not be fixed. What keep the medical staff employed after 2007 still makes me wonder who made that call. No not a typo, Nats lost more games to DL in 2007 than 2008. I recall pointing out to you all that Eckstein call up in September as making a big change in the ABs. I recall most all of you saying that was just sour grapes on my part because Harris was not going to be fired.....well....who was right?

Posted by: JayBeee | March 13, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse


Per your point, Ladson believes Willie Harris should start in CF......

I can't even come up with the words to respond to that in his comments section. Thank God he's a reporter, not the manager.

And by the way, I really like Willie Harris

Posted by: jfromPG | March 13, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

[AB] and its brother code [RF] are too well-entrenched in NJ tradition for me not to have used it, BinM.

Blog? Bobson has a blog?

BTW, Barry has a new post up.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 13, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Dude - Either hire or rent an editor / intern to review your screeds, or make use of the 'preview' window, please. Just the typos alone are rendering them non-sensical.
Some of the stuff you put forward might hit a chord with more of us if it seemed literate.

Posted by: BinM | March 13, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

I've suggested we stick with tradition, 1a, and change the code every year. This year, we have perfectly good option in "Kip"--as in "Bowden is kippin' FIRED already, drop the subject."

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 13, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

The travel problems in Florida are why the Orioles should move up to Vero Beach and the Red Sox and Twins should move up to Sarasota or Orlando. The teams are too far apart. It makes it too difficult to put together meaningful lineups.

Posted by: cr8oncsu | March 14, 2009 6:33 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

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