Mills juggling lineups
Astros manager Brad Mills has used 11 different lineups in the first 11 games of the season, which isn’t too surprising when you consider the offensive struggles the club has had this year. Mills is trying to find something, anything that will get the team going.
On Saturday, he had Jeff Keppinger in the leadoff spot against a left-hander. That’s mostly because center fielder Michael Bourn is nursing a groin injury, but Keppinger is a great choice to hit leadoff against lefthanders. He hits lefties well and the running game is somewhat diminished with a left-hander on the mound.
The fact that Keppinger is in the lineup at all is a good thing, considering he’s swinging the bat so well and Kaz Matsui isn’t.
Mills has also had to change his lineup with Lance Berkman on the disabled list. With Berkman out, Pedro Feliz is getting starts at first base against lefties with Chris Johnson starting at third. Feliz is generally at third and Geoff Blum at first against right-handers. If Berkman were healthy, he’d be making all the starts at first, Feliz would be entrenched at third and there would be less lineup combinations.
Ultimately, Mills would like to settle on a more consistent lineup. That won’t happen until the club starts winning and Berkman is back.
“You’d like to settle on something,” Mills said.
What is going to be interesting is what the Astros will do when Berkman returns on Tuesday, as it appears he will. With Feliz returning to third, that would probably mean Johnson would be the odd man out, but what do you do with Matsui if he’s not playing?