Tony LaRussa has on a few occasions recently, started a lineup that included five consecutive left-handed hitters. This makes things very simple on an opposing manager late in a close game. Monday night, Cubs lefty Felix Heredia came in for that stretch of lineup, and retired five straight hitters, including one pinch hitter. LaRussa says in the paper today, that all five of those hitters hit lefthanders just as well. Tony’s a very bright guy, but if he really believes that, he’s dead wrong. Using OPS, which is on base percentage plus slugging percentage, and a better measure of a hitter than batting average, here are the numbers: Jim Edmonds, 78 points lower against lefties. Fernando Vina 112 points lower against lefties. Ray Lankford, 310 points lower, and Will Clark and J.D. Drew, each 359 points lower! That is a substantial difference. Also, LaRussa had already burned his best hitter against lefties, Eric Davis, as a pinch-hitter against Jon Lieber, who is far tougher on righties. Why make things so easy on the other manager? I know Drew is better than Edgar Renteria, but hitting Renteria second and Fernando Tatis fourth would at least force the other manager to make a decision.
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