Friday, July 27, 2007

A triumphant return

Kenny Lofton returned to the Indians' lineup for the first time since 2001 on Friday night, after coming over in a trade with the Texas Rangers earlier in the day.

Batting second, sandwiched between Grady Sizemore and Victor Martinez, he looked like he hadn't been away at all.

His stat line: 3-for-5 with an RBI. His trio of hits included a third-inning bunt single that loaded the bases, helped pave the way for a six-run inning, and made us all remember how electrifying Lofton's speed can be, how much of an ignition switch he can provide for an offense.

Short of bringing in a superstar power bat like Ken Griffey Jr., the easiest way to ramp up the production of your offense is to acquire a guy like Lofton who can get on base a number of different ways, then harass the pitcher into making mistakes with the omnipresent threat of a stolen base.

I know you don't want to mess with the lineup too much, Eric Wedge, but please try leading off with Lofton and batting Sizemore third for just one game. See what happens when Lofton is allowed to set the table and Sizemore is placed in an RBI spot in the lineup. You might be pleasantly surprised.

If you need any more convincing, I'm sure someone in the Indians organization can get you Mike Hargrove's phone number.
P.S. If you'd like some more quality reading material on the return of Kenny Lofton, check this out.


MP said...

Tonight we're gonna party like it's 1995. Kenny Lofton has returned, and you're absolutely right to say that he just might be the tool that the Indians need to put spark in the lineup every night.

This will be a move that shows dividends in the long run.

Erik said...

Speed kills in baseball, and while Lofton doesn't have fastest-man-in-baseball wheels anymore, he can still get down the line.

I can't wait until he lays down a bunt single during a ninth-inning rally and absolutely knocks the other team for a loop.

Belle and Ramirez and Thome get all the pub for authoring those ninth-inning wins in the '90s, but Lofton and Vizquel were just as important. All they did was get on base and make the pitcher think "aw, crap..."