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Jim Leyland’s Experimental Lineups

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Last year many fans questioned manager Jim Leyland’s everlasting rattling of the Detroit Tigers’ daily lineup. This year, he’s stayed rather steady with his starting nine until last night, when he moved Curtis Granderson from leadoff to fifth; batting Josh Anderson first; dropping Magglio Ordoñez from third to sixth; and installing call-up Clete Thomas in the three-hole.

And whaddya know, the damn thing worked. The Tigers destroyed the Twins 9-0. Granderson hit a solo home run, and Clete Thomas went 3-for-5 with a single, double, and triple. Anderson went 2-for-5, and Ordoñez’s dismal 0-for-4 game was slightly masked by having him lower in the order.

Now, this magic probably won’t last forever, but it does give Leyland more leverage the next time he wants to tinker with the lineup and not have to explain himself.

“Hey, reporters, c’mon in. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have. Except for the lineup. Nope, I’m not going to talk about it. Thank you for your time, and, oh, by the way, Gerald Laird is going to play shortstop. See ya!”

Obviously the Tigers aren’t going to score nine runs a game. (They said that last year. They were slightly incorrect.) Clete Thomas is the éclair portion of the Tigers’ diet. It’s nice every once in a while, but you can’t have it every day or you’ll get sick. At some point he’ll have to bring Ordoñez back to the No. 3 spot, whenever he finds his swing. Prior to last night’s egg, he was 6-for-44 in his last 11 games.

But should Leyland choose to dabble with new lineups, here’s another suggestion:

1. Josh Anderson, LF
2. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

3. Adam Everett, SS
4. Curtis Granderson, CF
5. Brandon Inge, 3B
6. Gerald Laird, C
7. Magglio Ordoñez, DH
8. Placido Polanco, 2B
9. Clete Thomas, RF

Keep Anderson batting first, because of his speed. Granderson currently leads the team in home runs, so he’s suddenly the cleanup guy. Cabrera moves up to second because he’s hitting over .400. Polanco and Ordonez are struggling, so they get moved down. Inge is hitting pretty well, so he can protect Granderson. Oh, and the lineup is also in alphabetical order. It’s an anal retentive Tigers fan’s dream.

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  • Tony

    I like Leyland but I’m really starting to question his methods. While this lineup did happen to work it was absolutely absurd. Putting your second best hitter in the 6th hole is a joke.

    If anything, they should bat Grandy third, Miggy forth, and Mags fifth. Then you’ve got a great average guy with power in the three hole, your best hitter batting cleanup, and Mags batting 5th protecting Carbrera.

    You can leave Anderson in the top spot and Polanco in the 2 hole as even when he struggles he still makes contact, moves runners over, and doesn’t hit into too many double plays. If his slump is that big of a deal, and if they have so much faith in Clete bat him 2nd.

    Granderson and Maggs would see great pitches with Cabrera in between and Cabrera swings at everything so it won’t matter what he sees.

    I’ll say it again, I love Leyland but he couldn’t get over the hump with those loaded Pirates teams and he can’t seem to get it together with this team.

    You wrote that Verlander article and that made me think about Doug Drabeck and what he did to his arm.

    He can’t manager a pitching staff, makes weird lineups, and the only team he ever won with was a team of ringers. I hate to say it but I think this team needs a change.

  • Ethan

    Is Clete Thomas slack-jawed, by any chance?..

  • I like dropping Granderson in the lineup, especially against righthanders. In fact, I wish everyone could bat 3-6. Could we make that happen?

    And Ethan, the official TheBigTilde.com nickname for him is “Cletus the Backup Yokel.”