Contemporary baseball analysts agree on two things about lineups. The first thing is that there are certain principles that a manager should follow in constructing a lineup, the general aim of which is to identify the best hitters and make sure they bat the most. The second thing is that batting orders don't make a whole heck of a lot of difference over a full season.
So for a team like the Orioles, who have been lineup tinkerers so far this season, the daily tweaks of the batting order are less about the concrete impact these shifts may make than they are about what those tweaks reveal about manager Buck Showalter's thought process.
If you watched last night's game all the way to the end, you saw Adam Jones unloading one of the wild swings like only he can do - and completely missing the pitch, of course. He appeared to re-aggravate the "rib area" soreness (that's definitely not an oblique) on the play and definitely swung the bat afterwards like a guy who couldn't swing full strength.
It would not have been surprising to me if Jones was back out of the lineup again. Instead, Jones, who is batting .208/.283/.313 so far this season, moves up to #2 in the batting order.
The rest of the lineup goes as follows:
1. Joey Rickard - LF
2. Adam Jones - CF
3. Manny Machado - 3B
4. Chris Davis - 1B
5. Mark Trumbo - RF
6. J.J. Hardy - SS
7. Pedro Alvarez - DH
8. Jonathan Schoop - 2B
9. Caleb Joseph - C
No surprise Joseph is playing here, as his better rapport with tonight's starter, Ubaldo Jimenez, has been discussed a good bit. This is the 19th Orioles game and the 14th different lineup - and the O's purported starting catcher, Matt Wieters, has yet to catch games on consecutive days.
They'll be facing Jake Odorizzi of the Rays tonight. There are not many possible outcomes that are worse than how they did against Chris Archer last night. But then Jimenez probably won't do as well as Kevin Gausman, either. Hopefully this bunch can find a way to keep the O's from losing their third game in a row.