Sunday, June 15, 2008

Moving down the line
Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore is on pace to hit 40 homers and drive in 95 runs.

He is certainly on a power binge right now, so expecting him to keep the pace may be expecting too much.

But if he stays healthy (a big question with this club), it's reasonable to think he could hit 30 homers and drive in more than 80 runs.

So why is he the Indians' leadoff hitter?

I know Sizemore can run and steal bases. He has 16 of those already. It's also questionable if the Indians have anyone who could be a leadoff hitter. My only suggestion would be Shin-Soo Choo, whose on base percentage is .420.

But with the Indians' offense, it's not how you start an inning, but how you finish it. How many innings has Sizemore led off with a hit, and never moved until he went to the outfield?

Sizemore is hitting .302 with runners in scoring position, .348 with runners in scoring position with two out. Imagine how many more opportunities he'd have to drive in runs with someone more consistent than the No. 9 hitter batting behind him.

When manager Eric Wedge installed Sizemore in the leadoff spot three seasons ago, most figured it was temporary, and that Sizmore would mature into a No. 3 hitter.

I think he has, but the manager has left him at the top of the order.

With runs coming at a premium for this team, Wedge should think about putting one of his best run producers in a run-producing spot.



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