So much has been made about the Mets lineup on Opening Day, who posted it, and what the reasoning was behind it.
It all started when Adam Rubin of ESPN New York tweeted this on Monday about the unusual lineup the Mets posted on Opening Day:
On Tuesday, Marc Carig of Newsday cited a source insisting it was Terry Collins and his staff who created the lineup, and only asked for feedback from the front office before posting it.
In addition, only minor changes to Monday’s lineup are expected in the near-term, according to Carig.
Quite honestly, I’m not sure what the fuss is about from the fans to some areas in the media. Sure, it gives people something to talk about, maybe whine about, but who cares, as long as they win? I’m more fascinated with the strategy and design than I am about who specifically is coming up with the ideas, especially if this eventually works.
In today’s game, the manager’s decision making power has become dramatically diminished. That individual is essentially responsible for managing the game with the roster he’s been given by his front office. In a way, there’s less accountability on the manager now since so many decisions are being made above him. If that means Collins truly didn’t create the lineup and Sandy Alderson or one of his lieutenants did, ok. I think they’re qualified to make such decisions, and it’s their prerogative anyway. They’re also probably not the only front office making decisions on the field, either, assuming that’s the case.
As for Monday’s lineup, yes it was unusual, but then again, maybe it wasn’t. They stacked their best hitters at the top of his lineup in order to generate as much offense as possible while still alternating left-handed and right-handed hitters through the middle of the order. That alone remains advantageous. If the odds of someone like David Wright or Lucas Duda coming up with runners in scoring position are increased with this strategy, sign me up.
Remember, this is an era when power and offense in general is declining and strikeouts are increasing. So it’s up to everyone involved to find a way to generate more offense, even if it means using what is viewed as unconventional tactics to do so. More and more teams are considering (or are actually) batting their best hitters towards the top of the lineup, and more and more teams are considering (or are actually) hitting the pitcher eighth so to give the top of the order more opportunities to drive runners home. Hell, Joe Maddon batted Jon Lester eighth against the Cardinals on Opening Night.
If the game itself is evolving – for whatever reason – it’s up to the teams to keep pace and adapt to the change. That’s for competitive purposes for teams but also entertainment purposes for fans. The league knows offense is declining, but they also know people are generally far more entertained by home runs than they are with a pitcher who throws a complete game shutout. That’s just the way it is, so they have to find a way to reverse the trend.
Far be it for me to criticize a desire to make the Mets better to try to win more games and make the game more entertaining, regardless of who is coming up with these ideas.