Leyland stirred his lineup; why didn’t Hurdle?

With Detroit manager Jim Leyland being all the rage today — his tossed salad lineup ignited the Tigers’ offensive breakout for a 7-3 win over Boston in Game 4 of the ALCS — Pirates fans have to be wondering:

Should that have been Clint Hurdle, in Game 5 of the NLDS?

To review: Starling Marte and Neil Walker, the top two hitters in the Pirates’ lineup, were 1-for-31 prior to the decider against the Cardinals, most recently 0-for-7 in the one-hit loss in Game 4; Hurdle kept his batting order intact and the pair added an 0-for-7 as the Bucs went down, 6-1, and out.

There are some interesting analogies. Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter, normally Detroit’s 1-2 hitters, had been 4-for-27 without an RBI in the first three games against the Red Sox and went 3-for-7 and drove in four runs as No. 1 and No. 8, respectively. Leyland moved his Andrew McCutchen — Miguel Cabrera — from No. 3 to No. 2 and he went 2-for-4 with two more  RBIs.

Was Hurdle wrong to stay with the identical lineup through all five games — with a one-time exception of starting Jordy Mercer over Clint Barmes at short — in his stated belief that “hitters hit. The longer they go without hitting, the more they’re due”?

Certainly a point to argue, but there was one major difference in the circumstances: The Bucs were tied after four games, and had produced 14 runs in the four games; the Tigers were down 1-2 and had scored a total of six runs.

Marte and Walker obviously had not contributed to that four-game production, had been carried by the others. In Hurdle’s view, that bought them time to get untracked. It didn’t work. Leyland’s mad-scientist approach did work.

Argue away.

3 Comments

I still don’t understand why mercer didn’t see time in the 2 spot. He always seemed to hit well there (.352 average on the year). Would have been a logical shakeup to get someone on base in front of Cutch.

i”n his stated belief that “hitters hit. The longer they go without hitting, the more they’re due”?”

Works in places Las Vegas & Atlantic City….for the House😦

I don’t have a problem with what Hurdle did. I think that Marte had to remain at the top of the order because of his speed and that besides Tabata, he was the only guy who even resembles a leadoff hitter. If the Pirates had faced a lefty, Mercer would have hit second but the fact that they faced all righties justifies leaving Walker there. If a change were to be made, I would have moved Pedro back to the cleanup spot. He was hot and may have gave the team a spark from there.

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