Friday, June 11, 2010

Lineup Tinkering

I was very disappointed with Jim Tracy for several reasons yesterday.

There was, however, one thing that I applaud and congratulate him on.

Moving Helton to the two spot.

That's a move I've been promoting and hoping for for over six weeks now. It's just a natural fit with his reduced power and still solid on base skills. Every manager's goal should be to maximize each player's ability. For Helton, it just makes worlds of sense at this stage of his career with his current skill set.

True, he may not possess the speed or bunting ability that most two hitters possess, but not many two hitters can or will build a resume like Helton's.

It's not just good for the physical side, it's also good for the mental side. Thinking about driving a ball out of the park or in the gap, things that used to just happen naturally for Todd, are not so important. Just finding a way on base is his main job now, and very few do that as well as Todd, no matter what his slugging percentage is. That's a load off his mind.

I'm hopeful Tracy sticks with it and let's it play out. If one day is any indication, and I think in this case it is, the Rockies are one piece closer to solving the puzzle.


The next thing Jim Tracy needs to figure out is a way to get Carlos Gonzalez out of the leadoff spot. He's a natural run producer. Run producers flounder at the top of the order. When they don't, their damage is still minimized with solo HRs and doubles that get stranded because the pitcher made an out before him.

We need to maximize Carlos. We need to maximize him quickly.

Who leads off in that scenario? Well, probably Seth Smith/Ryan Spilborghs until Dexter Fowler/Eric Young return. I prefer the speed element in the one spot when possible, which CarGo does provide, but at this point I just want guys on base ahead of Tulo, Gonzalez, Olivo and Hawpe.

That gives the Rockies the best chance to bust out of a slump that seems like it's going on a 10 years.

Mark it down, Tracy. If it doesn't work, call me out in the press conference. At least I'll deserve it.