Saturday, May 20, 2006

2+2, on occasion, = 4, unless there's a Veteran involved

To follow up yesterday's quasi-rant about how Father Alou constructed his lineup yesterday, I also came to wonder this...

What kind of message is Felipe sending to Jason Ellison? Ellison is the 5th outfielder, yet Felipe has played Mark Sweeney in front of him a couple of times already this year. Now, granted, I'm imagining this was an offensive move on Felipe's part -- Sweeney has hit well against right handed pitching this season, so I understand the move to get him in the lineup on Friday although Sweeney has hardly played any outfield in his career (edit: thanks to Josh for a correction -- Sweeney has played plenty of outfield during his career, just not in 2005, which happened to be the only year that I checked...shame on me).

However, when you follow up that move by putting the Force of Outtage a.k.a. Jose Vizcaino at 1st base, that logic flies out of the window. I can follow wanting Sweeney's bat in the lineup, but I can't follow finding a spot for Vizcaino.

It's simple. Ellison is the 5th outfielder on a team that was playing with one outfielder already hurt (Moises Alou), and another one playing DH (Barry Bonds). So, with this being the case, not only did Felipe not play the next outfielder in line (Ellison), but he instead took a player out of position to put him in the outfield (Sweeney) in Ellison's place, then took another player out of position (Vizcaino) to put in the spot that Sweeney could've occupied naturally at 1st base.

Felipe could've had two players playing at natural positions in Ellison and Sweeney, and could've made sure Vizcaino's pressed-board bat didn't make it into the lineup to exert its gravitational pull on outs. What type of message is Felipe transmitting here?

The message is: Jason, you won't play, ever. You'll pinch run and be a late inning defensive replacement, but that's it. The Giants didn't seem to mind getting Kevin Frandsen a run at 2nd base playing instead of Vizcaino, but when a chance to get Ellison instead of Vizcaino arose, Felipe instead moved two players out of position to set his starting lineup.

That is horrible, horrible managment on Felipe's part. Ellison really isn't very good, but: 1) he's a better hitter than Vizcaino, 2) he's better defensively in the outfield than Sweeney, and most importantly, 3) he's done everything they've asked of him this year, which has basically been all cleanup work.

So why, Felipe, when there's a genuine opportunity to get the man one measly start, did you turn around and shit on him? Remember, this is the guy they kept out of Spring Training...why hasn't there been more than 15 at-bats worth of opportunity on a team where Moises Alou has missed significant time with injury, and Bonds has missed a bunch of games resting his knee?

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