Two managers, two different approaches

Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Terry Francona of the Red Sox seem to be taking different approaches with some hitters in their respective lineups these days.

For instance, Showalter is staying the course with his hitters. Even though various players have struggled and slumped this year, most nights the Orioles’ lineup has remained the same. Derrek Lee has batted third every game this year and the first four in the order - Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis, Lee and Vlad Guerrero - have batted in the same spots each game of the year.

Meanwhile, Carl Crawford of the Red Sox has batted in five different spots in the batting order already. He is 0-for-8 in this series and grounded into a double play his first time up last night and then flied out with the game tied in the eighth.

Crawford is batting just .156 with one homer and six RBIs after signing a seven-year, $142 million deal with Boston over the winter. His OBP is just .200 and his OPS is .422 right now.

If you have read my blog for a while you may know I am a real fan of Crawford’s talents and see him as one dynamic player. Get him out now while you can because he is going to hit and probably pretty soon.

Here is how he has fared in the different spots in the order:
Batting 1st: hitting .094 at 3-for-32
Batting 2nd: hitting .167 at 2-for-12
Batting 3rd: .000 at 0-for-7
Batting 7th: hitting .259 at 7-for-27
Batting 8th: hitting .167 at 2-for-12

Last season with Tampa, Crawford had about two-thirds of his at bats batting second and the other third batting third.

Francona certainly knows his team better than I do, but I can’t ever imagine making out a lineup and batting Crawford eighth. I would put him third and just let him go.

Maybe Francona is trying to let Crawford know that even though you are a big-money, star player, if you don’t hit, you’ll be moved. Showalter’s message to Lee could be I have confidence in you and am not worried in the least about you right now. Lee is 5-for-9 in this series versus Boston.

A lot of fans seem to want Showalter to shake up the lineup when the team is not hitting. It’s the theory of “do something, do anything” to try and get it going. Sometimes “staying the course” is the hardest thing to do, but might be the right thing to do.

What do you think of the two managers and their approaches with key players in their lineups like Lee and Crawford?

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