Prior to the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Tuesday game against the Baltimore Orioles getting postponed, manager Clint Hurdle was about to unveil a new-look lineup to try to shake up his struggling offense.
While the Pirates lineup at Camden Yards had to include a designated hitter, which was slated to be Gaby Sanchez batting in the No. 5 hole, there were plenty of other penciled-in changes.
The most notable one involved struggling leadoff hitter Starling Marte, who was dropped down to the No. 7 spot in the lineup.
I’m all for keeping Marte in the lineup and moving him from the top of the lineup to hopefully get him going. This is a change that Hurdle has to make as Marte is killing the Bucs batting at the top of the order, something I looked at earlier in the week.
However if Marte drops in the order, someone has to bat first and the Pirates don’t have many options.
That duty would have fallen to Jose Tabata on Tuesday. Tabata is the logical choice as he has had some success batting leadoff in his career. His .318 OBP, while not great for a leadoff hitter, is the third-highest mark among Pirates regulars.
The other big change came in the No. 2 hole where Hurdle had Ike Davis penciled in to bat second.
This is a move I’m not a fan of as I don’t think much of Davis as a player, but it is a move that makes some sense on paper.
The Pirates have to start getting guys on base in front of Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez. Davis has a very respectable .346 OBP against right-handed pitching this season, although it has come in just 22 at-bats. Even though he has struggled over the course of the past year and a half, Davis put up a .356 OBP vs. RHP last season and a .345 mark in 2012.
Changes need to be made to shake up this Pirates offense and it looks like Hurdle is committing to making them.
Will he stick to that when the Bucs take on the O’s Wednesday night? We will find out in a few hours.