Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hey, Remember That Lineup That Wasn't Working? Let's Try That Again!

Luis Castillo has always been a good player. He's had a longer hitting streak than any Met ever has. He has two championship rings. He's stolen over 60 bases in a season. He's had an OBP over .380 on four different occasions. He may have cured polio. He contributes large amounts of money to the Make-A-Wish foundation. Etc.

Luis Castillo accomplished all of the aforementioned feats because of his legs. Plain and simple - the man could run. Now, not so much.

So when Big Willie Style switched Luis out of the 2-hole and down to 8th a collective "what took so long" rang out in living rooms and sports bars across the tri-state area.

My question was, did it really matter? Now, the exceedingly small sample size being recognized, let's take a look.

During the 5-game stretch where Church hit 2nd and Castillo 8th, the Mets as a team hit .263 (48/182) and went 5-0. They averaged 4.8 runs per game.

During the first 11 games when Castillo hit 2nd and Church 6th, the Mets hit .264 (99/374), went 5-6, and scored 4.6 runs per game.

So the team scored 2/10 of a run more on average when Castillo hit 8th. I'm prepared to say that number would be much higher if Luis' switch to the 8th spot didn't coincide with Beltran and Delgado forgetting how to hit.

So it appears our intuitions were correct. Runs scored aside, the team won with Church hitting second. That alone would be enough to tell Willie to stick Luis, his bum knees, and his ridiculous contract in the 8th hole and let Lastings' replacement hack away...wouldn't it?

To the casual baseball fan, yes. But not to Willie Randolph. After the fun little 5-0 experiment with Church hitting second, the manager decided to switch back to the lineup that had his team one game under .500 for the first two weeks. What happened? What else could happen? They lost two games in a row.

Decision making at its finest.

Fukudome returns in just under two hours. Hopefully the Lincoln High graduate who doesn't coerce interns into sex in an Escalade can keep the string of strong starts going.


Judge Roughneck said...

I have a very bad feeling that Willie unknowingly stumbled into a perimeter of wisdom when he moved Castillo down the lineup. He may have just as quickly stumbled out of it, back into a world where moving runners over means more than getting on base.

MP said...

It appears so after tonight with Church 5th and Delgado 6th. Hopefully when Alou comes back Church can slide back up to the 2-hole and Delgado can stay in the 6.