Here are the lineups for Game 1 of the NLDS between the Diamondbacks and Brewers this afternoon:
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS MILWAUKEE BREWERS
1. Willie Bloomquist, SS 1. Corey Hart, RF
2. Aaron Hill, 2B 2. Nyjer Morgan, CF
3. Justin Upton, RF 3. Ryan Braun, LF
4. Miguel Montero, C 4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Chris Young, CF 5. Rickie Weeks, 2B
6. Lyle Overbay, 1B 6. Jerry Hairston Jr., 3B
7. Ryan Roberts, 3B 7. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
8. Gerardo Parra, LF 8. Jonathan Lucroy, C
9. Ian Kennedy, SP 9. Yovani Gallardo, SP
The major thing of note here is that Diamondbacks’ manager Kirk Gibson went with the veteran Lyle Overbay over the rookie Paul Goldschmidt at first base. Left-handed batters have hit Gallardo slightly better than righties this season, but not by much, so perhaps Overbay is getting the nod because of his past experience at Miller Park as a member of the Brewers.
As for the Brewers, Jerry Hairston Jr. will make the start over Casey McGehee at third, something I figured would happen in our series preview earlier this week. McGehee batted just .223/.280/.346 with 13 homers and a .627 OPS this season, including a .132 batting average in September, so it’s not a big shock to see him on the bench. However, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel notes, chances are we’ll see lineup for Game 2. While not a big sample size, McGehee is 5-for-5 with a double and a homer lifetime against Daniel Hudson.
I’ll be live blogging this game once it gets underway at about 2 p.m. ET, so stay tuned.
The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.
Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.
Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.
Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.
Here’s an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal. It’s about some studies of hitters who use weighted bats or doughnuts on their bats in the on deck circle. Turns out that, contrary to conventional wisdom, using a weighted bat for practice hacks does not speed up one’s swing when one uses a naked bat in the batter’s box. In fact, it slows it down.
There are lots of caveats here. The sample size in the studies are small and they all involve college and high school players, not big leaguers. The results, however, are consistent with previous studies and they do make some intuitive sense. This is particularly the case with batting doughnuts, which add weight to a very concentrated portion of the bat, thereby changing the center of gravity and thus the swing mechanics of the hitter.
Whether this is applicable at large or to higher level hitters or not, I still find it kind of neat. I always like it when people scrutinize ingrained habits and ask whether or not that thing we’ve always done is, in fact, worth doing.