Question of the Day, 5/8 …
Do you think the constant lineup changes are having an effect on the offense? — Josh B., Huntington Beach
I think, to some extent, they might be. Mike Scioscia has now trotted out 28 different lineups through the season’s first 31 games, which leads the American League. In fact, the third-place team on that list, the Blue Jays, hasn’t even had 20 different batting orders (the A’s are second, with 25 heading into Tuesday). The middle of the order has been pretty consistent, with Albert Pujols, Kendrys Morales (against righties) and Torii Hunter making up that group. But Howie Kendrick is gone from the 2 spot, Erick Aybar no longer bats leadoff, Peter Bourjos hardly plays and, of course, Mark Trumbo has bounced around.
How much that affects the hitters? It’s tough to say. I will say guys know this coming in — that’s just how it is around here — and it’s hard for a manager to be consistent with a lineup when he isn’t getting consistency back from his own hitters. But ballplayers are creatures of habit. (channeling my inner Crash Davis here) They believe in routine, they believe in momentum and they believe in not messing with a hitting streak. Maicer Izturis was on base three times Monday, and he sat today. Mike Trout had three extra-base hits and two RBIs on Saturday and Sunday, and he sat Monday. And Morales was hitting .406 over an eight-game stretch, but has sat two days in a row with the Twins trotting out back-to-back lefties.
But, again, if I were to tell you how much the constant changes affects an offense, I would be guessing.