Angels @ Dodgers May 27, 2013: Well, That’s a Lineup

May 27, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Posted in Game Threads | Leave a comment

dodger_stadium_openingday2013I’m pretty glad that I wrote about the futility of Dee Gordon this morning and didn’t wait one second longer to do so, because Gordon was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque today in order to make room for the returning Jerry Hairston.

I’m a little surprised by the move, to tell the truth, because this is now a team that has to staff shortstop without Hanley Ramirez, Justin Sellers, or Gordon, and that was their top three on the depth chart at the position entering the season. (Ramirez may start a rehab assignment in the next 4-5 days, according to Don Mattingly per J.P. Hoornstra.) That basically makes Nick Punto the starting shortstop, and while that’s a valid move at this point… it’s incredibly difficult to wrap your head around.

Angels
Dodgers
SS
Aybar
SS
Punto
CF
Trout
2B
M.Ellis
1B
Pujols
CF
Kemp
LF
Trumbo
1B
Gonzalez
RF
Hamilton
RF
Van Slyke
2B
Kendrick
C
Hernandez
3B
Callaspo
LF
Hairston
C
Conger
3B
Cruz
P
Wilson
P
Greinke

Gordon’s departure means that Luis Cruz inexplicably survives to see another day, and not only that, he’s in the starting lineup tonight, hitting eighth and playing third base. Cruz rounds out what is actually a pretty bizarre lineup, especially in what’s likely to be a visible game against C.J. Wilson and the Angels. Andre Ethier sits, replaced by Scott Van Slyke. Carl Crawford sits, replaced by Hairston. And Ramon Hernandez gets a rare start, giving A.J. Ellis a break.

On their own, each of those moves are defensible. As much as we all despise Cruz at this point, you have to play him sometime if you reasonably expect him to contribute — and it’s not like Juan Uribe is really that good, despite our positive jokes about him. Ellis has been slumping around taking a physical beating the last few days, and backup catchers have to play; neither Crawford nor Ethier can really hit lefties well, and we’ve been clamoring for righty platoon options in the corners for years.

It’s just that all of this happening in one game is kind of a shock, though the idea of an Ellis / Ethier / Crawford / Uribe / Skip Schumaker bench is actually a pretty strong one. I get that people see a lineup that has Cruz and Hernandez in it all at once and aren’t happy, and it’s not great that this is a situation we find ourselves in. Then again, as usual, that’s more of a front office problem to me, and I really can’t find much angst over getting your two lefty platoon-heavy guys out against lefties. In Ethier’s case, it’s a move that’s long overdue.

The injury fun isn’t close to be over, of course: Josh Beckett‘s throwing program has been shut down thanks to tingling in his fingers, and he’ll have an MRI tomorrow. Seems like this team might never be rid of Ted Lilly, I suppose.

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