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Polling the lineup and links

During the first days of spring training workouts, Manager Jim Riggleman expressed confidence that he already knew which eight position players he would scribble on to the lineup card most every day. This past week has changed that. Elijah Dukes, one of those eight, was released. Cristian Guzman, another one of those eight, seems to be struggling with the work of building up his arm. He looked "tentative" to Riggleman yesterday.

That expected lineup, then, may look quite a bit different when the season arrives, maybe something like this:

1. Nyjer Morgan, CF
2. Willie Harris, RF
3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
4. Adam Dunn, 1B
5. Josh Willingham, LF
6. Adam Kennedy, 2B
7. Ian Desmond, SS
8. Ivan Rodriguez, C
9. Pitcher

Even if Guzman returns to full health, Desmond's blistering play this spring is turning the shortstop position into a contested one. That's one of many things to be sorted about the lineup, and one of many topics worth gauging opinion about. With that in mind, some Sunday morning questions:

Davey Johnson chatted with the New York Times about a new TV show in New York. Old friend Ryan Church is trying to catch on with the Pirates. You may have heard about this Strasburg guy getting sent down to Harrisburg. Chien Ming-Wang gives his three-word scouting report on Strasburg: "Fast. Big curveball." The Nationals lost again yesterday, dropping them to 3-13. They were not particularly sharp, either. The fellas at FanGraphs ask why the Nationals want to extend Adam Dunn.

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 21, 2010; 7:30 AM ET
 
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Next: Today's lineups

Comments

Let Dunn play at first for a while and see if he improves. I expect he will. After reading that article, however, it seemed to me it made a case for extending him, not the opposite. If nothing else, he would be trade bait. But I want to see him play here--the article gives him no credit for helping Zim's numbers, although clearly he did that last year and will again this season. And heaven knows we need the offense. Pay the man already!

Posted by: NatsFly | March 21, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Willingham has the on-base skills to bat second, and would see some pitches with Zimmerman on deck. Likewise, Harris and Desmond could be a potent 5-6 punch.

Batting Kennedy anywhere north of seventh is giving up.

Posted by: Hendo1 | March 21, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Willie Harris is not at starting right fielder, nice guy to have when you need him but it speaks poorly of the organization as a whole. They made a big mistake w/the Dukes experiment and now the "donut whole" is wider then first thought.

Ian Desmond deserves to start however now you have Adam Kennedy and Ian Desmond stuck between 2 and 6, neither are well suited for the 6 hole, both better in the 2 spot. Does the thought of O Dog come back to haunt?

Tough, tough tough first 43 games, doesn't matter if SS, or CMWang arrive on the scene in mid to late May. Without some real good luck 10-33 might be the honest ticket for this group.

Keys to winning baseball games; Pitch well enough to get to the 7th inning everyday. Bullpen needs to be reliable to get you thru the 8, and 9th. Catch the ball, giving the other team 29 or 30 outs usually results in an L. Hit the ball with RISP, doesn't make much sense when ADUNN hits a solo homer when your down 7-1. Stop the bleeding when your on a 2 or 3 game skid, don't let the culture of losing rear its ugly head.

Lots of questions, not much answers! Except for this. Please keep StanK from the airwaves, tell your friends to buy some tickets for OD, hell if you got extras give'em to your friends. Just say "no" to another Phillie South OD.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | March 21, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Agreed, Willie Harris is a quality bench player... but, if Maxwell and/or Morse don't step up this season, RF is a huge hole in a lineup that can not afford huge holes.

I vote for Kennedy to start the year batting 2nd. I would rather Desmond start the year towards the end of the lineup and (hopefully) work his way into a position where eventually he could move up in the lineup... but right now, out of the gate, I would expect him to strikeout a lot, have a low batting average, solid OBP, and solid power and speed numbers for a SS, with potential for improvement and growth... but, again, just don't put Guzman at SS and the number 2 hole, been there, done that! He was never anything but maybe slightly above average, and he is on the decline, no room for improvement or growth with that guy...

Willingham needs to bat 5th, there needs to be some kind of proven threat behind Zimm/Dunn... can't back up those guys with Desmond, Pudge/Nieves, RF of the day, etc... and expect Dunn not to walk 150 times...

Posted by: Ghost7 | March 21, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Buy tickets for OD? I've been trying to buy tickets for a group of 4 and it tells me there isn't even 1 available at any level!!! Must have sold them all to Philly fans already? I understand they're trying to sell more full and partial season ticket packages, but I'm going to laugh if there are people like me who want to go and they end up with a half full house because they waited to make the tickets available.

Posted by: peca277 | March 21, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I understand they're trying to sell more full and partial season ticket packages, but I'm going to laugh if there are people like me who want to go and they end up with a half full house because they waited to make the tickets available.

Posted by: peca277 | March 21, 2010 10:27 AM

They might as well give up the new season ticket buyer strategy now that Strasburg is officially headed to Harrisburg. No one new is going to buy in now if they have not earlier in the offseason. This team needs to win or at least have Jesus on the mound for anyone but the die hards to pay attention.

And yeah, there will be tens of thousands of Phillies fans on a proper opening day, with Halladay throwing.

Posted by: Kev29 | March 21, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Tippy pointed at something to consider re: Keys to winning baseball games. The starting staff sets the tone for a game; Giving up runs early, or in bunches is the road to a bad season. The question is, of the eight players still contending for a rotation spot, who deserves to come north?
Lannan is a lock, and Marquis will be there as well. I would hope they've seen enough of Olsen & Martis to know they're not ready. That leaves four - Martin, Mock, Stammen & Hernandez. Mock probably has the best 'stuff' of the four, but has a habit of pitching just well enough to lose (3-10 in 2009, 0-3 so far this spring, with a .316BAA & 4HRA in 14IP).
Martin, Stammen & Hernandez are all 'pitch to contact' types, but Hernandez has the well-earned reputation as a workhorse. Both Martin & Stammen had their moments in 2009, but it's a small sample size. Somebody out of these three needs to step up & take the job.

Posted by: BinM | March 21, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Martin, Stammen & Hernandez are all 'pitch to contact' types, but Hernandez has the well-earned reputation as a workhorse.

Posted by: BinM | March 21, 2010 11:13 AM

So when you add our first two in the rotation, that's an entire early season staff of "pitch to contact". Nothing inherently terrible about that, but they need defense behind them. Makes the situation at shortstop even more critical. And Morgan staying healthy. And Dunn stepping up at first. Worrisome.

This team will only improve considerably if the defense and bullpen are light years ahead of last season.

Posted by: Kev29 | March 21, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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