Balance, great thing to have if you’re a gymnast, a Flying Wallenda or have a job and family. Also a very nice thing for a baseball lineup.
Whatever you may think of the Dodgers’ individual moves this off-season, for 2015 it has left them a very nicely balanced lineup. It may lack the “uh-oh” quality that the bats of Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez brought, but it’s solid one through eight with a perfect blend of alternating right-left bats.
The Dodgers are starting what will likely be their most common lineup today against the Giants. They’re using a designated hitter, so both Joc Pederson and Andre Ethier are in it.
The basic lineup for 2015: SS Jimmy Rollins (switch-hitter), LF Carl Crawford (bats left), RF Yasiel Puig (right), 1B Adrian Gonzalez (left), 2B Howie Kendrick (right), C Yasmani Grandal (switch), 3B Juan Uribe (right) and CF Pederson (left).
Today against the Giants, Ethier is batting behind Grandal and playing left field, with Pederson ninth and in center. Crawford, who fouled a ball off his shin Saturday, is the DH. Opening day will likely bring A.J. Ellis starting at catcher for Clayton Kershaw.
But the basic lineup appears pretty settled, if you assume — and I know everyone is — Pederson beats out Ethier for the final opening in the outfield. And you have to like the lineup. Rollins and Kendrick add a pair known for smart at-bats and working the count, something Grandal has shown a nice knack for early on. It’s what managers like to call a deep lineup. Like a fine red wine, it has depth.
So maybe the Dodgers don’t scare quite as much as last season when they were sixth in the majors in runs (despite being 16th in home runs). But they might. They might have longer rallies and simply score differently.
And as the Dodgers love to remind you, they also should be improved defensively, meaning they hopefully won’t need to score as much to win.
Balance has its place in baseball, including the lineup.