No, Don't Start Adam Dunn Against Lefties

By Jason Wojciechowski on September 4, 2014 at 10:42 PM

I don't understand what Scott Ostler is saying at all. I think he wants Adam Dunn to start against lefties because he "provides a spark" and to start Eric Sogard against lefties because Alberto Callaspo is awful at defense. Factually, Ostler is right about Callaspo, but it doesn't necessarily make up for Sogard's utterly feeble bat (.531 career OPS against port-siders). I mean, maybe it does, but Ostler doesn't do the work to show it. He just waves his hands about how the team needs defense and if you gave the pitchers truth serum they'd agree and yadda yadda.

The Dunn point, instead of being lazy, is just weird. Against lefties, the A's are probably going to line up on a regular basis something like:

C: Soto
1B: Freiman
2B: Callaspo
SS: Lowrie
3B: Donaldson
LF: Gomes
CF: Gentry
RF: Reddick
DH: Norris

That's the lineup they used on Tuesday against James Paxton. If Coco Crisp comes back, you can put him in center, move Gentry to left, Gomes to DH, and Norris to catcher, working Soto in sometimes to give Norris a day or half-day off. (Norris' bat should never be out of the lineup against lefties, says me.)

So for now, sure, maybe Dunn just bumps Soto, who's not a great hitter against anyone, even with the platoon advantage, but when Crisp comes back? Then you're looking at bumping either Gomes or Gentry or Reddick (in the latter case, with Gentry playing right and Gomes in left) but there's no way in hell you take Jonny Gomes out of the lineup against lefties for the sake of Adam Dunn's spark plugs (especially since isn't the entire narrative around Gomes that he is also a spark plug?) and sitting Gentry or Reddick hurts the defense quite a bit, and didn't we just get through talking about how important the A's defense is?

Putting aside that spark plugs and firebrands and whatever else we want to call the Big Donkey (who, don't forget, doesn't even like baseball if J.P. Ricciardi is to be believed—that was priceless, that one) are as mythical as Donkeycorns, you can't just put someone in the lineup. You also have to take someone out. And there isn't anyone who makes sense.

The biggest threat to smart platooning in baseball continues to be the media's near-constant stream of questions about why Lefty L isn't playing against Clayton Kershaw because hey hasn't L been super hot lately (facing only righties) and isn't he an important part of the lineup (yes, against righties) and don't you need to find him more at-bats?