Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Joe Mauer Lineup Conundrum

We are all looking forward to the return of Joe Mauer next weekend, but his return will pose an interesting question on how to structure the lineup. Jason Kubel and Justin Morneau have been far and away our two best hitters so far batting back to back. If you are to put Joe Mauer in front them then you have three left-handed hitters in a row. That is not something any manager likes to do although Philadelphia is currently doing it with Utley-Howard-Ibanez. I don't think that is something Gardenhire would like to do but the question is whether he even has a chance.

One option is to bat Mauer 2nd and put a righthander in the 3 hole. The problem is Mauer does not like batting second and who do you put in the 3 hole. This would be the solution if Cuddyer, Crede or Young were hitting well but they are all around the Mendoza line. The other option is to put a righthander between Morneau and Kubel but then you have the team's rbi leader batting 6th in Kubel and I don't think the Twins want to break up Kubel and Morneau.

I don't think the Twins currently have a choice but to bat them in a row, at least until a right hander starts to hit consistently. I also think it can work because they all do hit left-handed pitchers reasonably well. Mauer is a .300 hitter in his career against lefties, Morneau is only .261 against lefties for his career but hit .284 last year and is actually hitting .417 so far this year, and Kubel is 3 for 8 so far this season against lefties.

It is not ideal but I think the Twins don't have a choice since the three are their best hitters. I think this is what the lineup will look like when Mauer returns.

RF/LF Denard Span
2B Alexi Casilla / Brendan Harris
C Joe Mauer
1B Justin Morneau
DH Jason Kubel
3B Joe Crede
LF/RF Delmon Young / Michael Cuddyer
SS Nick Punto
CF Carlos Gomez

1 comment:

  1. Mauer is a perfect 2 hitter. Morneau three, Kubel five. Of course, there's nobody here who can really hit fourth, so who knows. If Crede or Cuddy start hitting they could go fourth, but until that happens, I think you have to go lefty-lefty-left, but I'd probably do it as 2-3-4.