Colorado Rockies: Lineup construction with David Dahl available
By Aaron Hurt
David Dahl returned to the Colorado Rockies’ roster on Sunday after breaking his foot on May 30. After drawing a late pinch-hit walk and stealing a base in the 5-4 win over the Milwaukee Brewers, Dahl gave the slumping Charlie Blackmon a much-needed day off Monday, getting the start in center field and batting leadoff. Dahl didn’t disappoint, going 2-for-4 with a double and a walk while providing solid defense.
The addition of a healthy David Dahl has raised a few questions. Most importantly, how exactly does Dahl fit into the Colorado Rockies‘ current lineup?
Let’s begin by stating that it was originally thought that Dahl would likely be slowly worked into the lineup. Considering his health history, it was thought that Bud Black would probably want to pick and choose his opportunities to start Dahl based on matchups until he has earned his trust to play every day. Also, factor in that Black has been known to stick with veterans rather than to give younger guys playing time.
However, Dahl was in the starting lineup for the third straight game in Wednesday’s matinee against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Coors Field.
That said, general manager Jeff Bridich did not do Bud Black any favors when he constructed this Rockies’ outfield, given that all four of the Rockies’ current outfielders bat from the left side. To add to that, Noel Cuevas is the only righty on the Rockies’ 40-man roster (not including Ian Desmond or Matt Holliday, the former Rockies star who hasn’t made the 40-man roster … yet). This makes it extremely hard for Black to mix and match his everyday lineup.
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When Dahl is in the lineup, multiple questions arise. Where does Dahl hit? In Monday night’s 2-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, he was batting leadoff … but keep in mind that Blackmon was out of the lineup. When both are in the lineup, who leads off? If Tuesday night can be used as a measuring stick, Blackmon stays in the leadoff spot and Dahl slides down to sixth. If Black ever decides to hit them one, two, where is DJ LeMahieu slotted? The lineup possibilities are endless.
Here are just a couple of examples on days that Gerardo Parra is not in the lineup (which I prefer):
I love the idea of batting Dahl third because of the left-right-left up and down the lineup is tough on bullpens. What worries me is that this puts Trevor Story and his 79 RBI all way down in the sixth spot. I also like the idea of hitting Dahl in the sixth spot because it gives Story some much needed protection.
Bud Black will have some tough decisions to make … but that is why he makes the big bucks. One thing is for sure, though. The Rockies are a much more dangerous team when a healthy David Dahl is in the lineup. It will be very interesting to see what Bud Black and Rockies do going forward.