Make no mistake about it, Justin Verlander is a terrific young pitcher with nasty stuff. His performance last night against the Milwaukee Brewers was one for the history books. 100 M.p.h. fastballs into the 9th inning and a steady diet of 12-6 curveballs throughout the game completely baffled the Crew all night.
I think Verlander would have shut down any ball club with that kind of stuff. That being said, where did Ned Yost come up with last night's lineup? I'm thinking he just threw some names into a hat and had Sal Bando pick them out. Why would you have Craig Cousell lead off? Why would you move Hart down to fifth and Billy Hall down to eighth? I just don't get it!!
Counsell is a solid #8 hitter. He bunts well, can move runners over and doesn't strike out much. That's what you want out of your number eight hitter. When you move him from #8 to lead off hitter you not only weaken the bottom of the lineup, you also lose a lot when the lineup turns over. It's like your penalizing the team when you get back to the lead off spot.
With Rickie weeks out, why not stay with Corey Hart at the #1 spot? He's got some pop and has good speed.
Lastly, why is Billy Hall batting eighth? Last night Billy had three walks and he did what a #8 hitter is supposed to do. Personally, I don't think you want Hall batting eighth. The Crew needs some run production out of the # 5 slot. The Brewers signed Hall to an extension and he was their MVP last year. I say put him at # 5 for the next couple of weeks and see what happens.
Obviously, the Brewers are struggling. The Brewers are, though, still 5 1/2 games up in the NL central. I hope Ned doesn't push the panic button. There's no reason to have Cousell lead off. It's the 5-7 slots in the lineup that Ned needs to concentrate on.
Let's see what #'s 1-9 looks like tonight, Brewer fans.
What say you?