One of the best managers in the game right now is the Rays Joe Maddon. I read this article today about another one of Maddon’s quirky managerial doings. One of his biggest power hitters, Carlos Pena, was in a huge slump. He was hitting well below .200 for the month, so what does Maddon do? He moves him up in the order. Not just one or two slots, he moved him the whole way up to the leadoff spot. This is a guy that has swatted 40+ home runs in his career with very little speed and a huge strikeout problem in the leadoff spot. That’s crazy.
Guess what? It worked. Pena went 2/5 with a home run. Would he have done that in the four or five hole? Who knows. There’s no way to tell if Maddon was responsible for that outcome, but you certainly can’t give him any criticism for it.
What does this have to do with the Pirates? Pretty much everything. All but two of the Pirates hitters are struggling right now. There’s no help coming from the outside, and there’s very little possible help on the inside. So, what should the Pirates do?
I think they should mix it up. Do things that are out of the ordinary. Shuffle up the lineup, play some guys that you wouldn’t usually play. Call up Matt Hague and start for him a week straight. Get Jake Fox up here and start him for a few games. Bat the pitcher 8th. Hit McCutchen lead off. Hit Pedro Alvarez lead off.
There is literally nothing the Pirates could do right now that wouldn’t be welcomed by the public. The only thing that we are going to be frustrated with is keeping things the same. Let’s ignore the book for awhile and just mix things up, things can’t get any worse. Chances are that no difference will be made, but what do the Pirates have to lose at this point? They are one of the worst offenses in the history of the game right now, so they would be silly to not try anything and everything to fix it.