John Farrell’s Lineup Woes

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Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. So one can understand why John Farrell isn’t parading the same lineup over and over and expecting the offense to explode.

He made some unconventional choices when constructing his lineup for Monday’s game against the Yankees, and yet it paid off in a big way. That’s not to say what John Farrell did was necessarily right, but it worked.

With all the injuries on the roster, I realize Farrell is severely limited in regards to what he can do in regards to lineup construction. For the past few games, it’s been the same cast of characters more or less, just different lineup slots.


I somewhat understand the logic of hitting Yunel Escobar in the cleanup spot, but then asking him to lay down a bunt? I can see maybe the 7,8 or 9 hitter being asked to sacrifice, but the cleanup hitter?

Thanks to super sleuth Gregor Chisolm for discovering that a Blue Jays cleanup hitter has not bunted since August 30th, 1992.

Aaron Hill, Juan Rivera, I can live with those guys hitting fourth for the time being. But Yunel Escobar? It just seems strange to plug him in there only for the fact that he has the second highest batting average and on base percentage on the active roster.

With each passing day without Adam Lind in the lineup, it appears more evident that Jose Bautista is out on an island all by himself. There really hasn’t been any way to bridge the gap towards getting men on base for Bautista, and also having hitters behind Jose so opponents don’t just pitch around him.

I still believe it just makes too much sense to move Jose Bautista down into the cleanup spot. If his teammates can avoid giving away outs on the basepaths, that’s where Jose can do the most damage and score the most runs.

Moving forward, a top five of Escobar, Patterson, Hill, Bautista, Lind would be the ideal lineup in my mind, but that of course involves all five of those players being healthy at one time.

Lineup construction is a very delicate art and I don’t envy John Farrell one bit because there are know-it-all armchair managers out there like myself who are second guessing each and every move.

Finding the right lineup really is trial by error, and luckily there are 162 chances each year to find the perfect formula. I just hope it doesn’t take John Farrell until game 162 to find the right mix.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

2 thoughts on “John Farrell’s Lineup Woes

  • May 24, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    The Escobar SAC bunt set up a 5-run inning and you're complaining about it? While it's not traditional for a clean-up hitter to do so, I quite liked John Farrell's strategy, considering all the injuries and no one, aside from J-Bau, that would hit successfully in clean-up. If I were the opposition, I would be much more scared about pitching to Escobar after Bautista than pitching to Encarnacion or Hill, even though Escobar isn't known for his power.

  • May 24, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Bradley, it did spark the rally, but just the principle of having your cleanup hitter lay down a sac bunt is mind boggling. Given, Escobar isn't the Blue Jays go-to #4 hitter, and if Lind is there, it's an entirely different situation.

    All in all, it worked and the Blue Jays won the game so we'll let this one slide.

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