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Rick Porcello Should Be Ashamed

I was watching some of the White Sox/Tigers game in the afternoon Tuesday (the first game of a doubleheader) and saw the most rare occurrence. Leadoff man Juan Pierre stepped up to the plate to lead off the 5th and proceeded to launch a home run to right field. This was not some cheap shot that just barely sneaked over the fence nor was it an inside-the-parker like you would expect from Juan. This was a rocket that went clear over the right field fence at Comerica Park.

Not only was the homer Pierre’s first of the year, it was his first since September 15th, 2008. That’s right, Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello served up a dinger to little ole’ Juan Pierre who had gone 811 at-bats without homering in the Majors. 811!

To give you some more perspective on how long it’s been since Pierre went deep, JP was still a member of the Dodgers and the almighty combination of Angel Berroa and Nomar Garciaparra comprised the left side of the team’s infield. Also, the guy who served up that dinger — Marino Salas — hasn’t pitched in the majors since. Porcello gave up seven earned runs and saw his ERA rise to 5.91. Your move, Dombrowski.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Duane Burleson

Juan Pierre Cracks Dodgers Lineup … Batting 9th Behind the Pitcher

Poor Juan Pierre. All the guy’s ever done was be Juan Pierre yet that’s not been good enough for the Dodgers. Between the signing of Andruw Jones, the acquisition of Manny Ramirez, and the emergence of Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, there hasn’t been much room for J.P., the Dodgers’ $9 million-a-year man. On Wednesday, for only the second time all season, Pierre was able to crack the Dodgers’ starting lineup because they sat Matt Kemp against Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum. Problem is the team was slapping him in the face at the same time that they were rewarding him. Sort of. Joe Torre pulled a Tony LaRussa, batting Pierre 9th behind the pitcher. The logic was sound and apparently Pierre was OK with it:

“I’ve been threatening it, right?” Manager Joe Torre said. “It just seemed like a situation, with a player like Juan, he’d be freer to steal and stuff with [Rafael] Furcal hitting behind him instead of the pitcher. . . . To me, it makes sense with a guy with speed. . . . I just don’t want to take away some of his tools from him.”

Pierre said he had no problem with the alignment, joking that he would bat 11th if that’s what it took for him to crack the lineup.

Like I said, the move appears as an insult on its surface, but it actually makes sense. Just because the “standard” way of doing things involves the pitcher batting last doesn’t always mean it’s the right move. Torre’s correct — speed is a big part of Pierre’s game, and that bonus of his game is more or less nullified by the pitcher batting behind him.