The #8 Spot is the Shame Hole
Bruce Bochy doesn’t care so much for proper lineup order. He’s regularly led off Eugenio Velez, Randy Winn hit third for a good portion of last season, and Bengie Molina lived in the cleanup spot during 2009. Arguably, it’s not that big a deal where anyone hits, but Bochy clearly was not maximizing whatever benefits might exist.
However, recently, Bochy has figured out a specific purpose for one lineup slot: shame. Whatever regular is slumping most severely has to hit in the #8 spot, just ahead of the pitcher. Saturday it was Pablo Sandoval; Sunday and Monday it was Aaron Rowand, and tonight it’s Bengie Molina. For Molina, it’s clearly punitive, as Bochy is on record saying that he won’t sacrifice with the pitcher because Molina is too slow.
So the #8 spot has become the Giants’ version of a dunce cap. It’s the stool in the corner of the classroom, the Scarlet Ocho of suckdom. So far, it hasn’t had wonderful results, but it hasn’t had bad ones either: Sandoval and Rowand each went for 1-for-4 in each game. Not great, but still better than they were doing.
No hits yet for Molina, and since he’s hitting directly behind Buster Posey, one of his weak groundouts turned into a double play. If this keeps up, Bochy will have no choice but to get Molina drunk, then draw a penis on his face with a Sharpie.