Stewart surprise starter at second

The season doesn’t start for a few hours, and already manager Clint Hurdle has pulled a surprise. Left-handed hitting Ian Stewart will start at second, instead of last year’s regular, Clint Barmes. This is obviously a strategic move, putting another lefty in the lineup against D-backs sinkerballer Brandon Webb.

(A full story will be coming soon on the Web site.)

Stewart played some second last season. He began working at second late in Spring Training.

“I knew it was going to happen at some point this season,” Stewart said. “I had no idea it would be this soon.”

Interestingly, Stewart is batting sixth and Troy Tulowitzki will drop to seventh. Normally, Hurdle intends to bat Tulowitzki sixth. But his Opening Day lineup has lefty hitters in spots 2, 3, 5 and 6, as the Rockies believe it’s a better matchup against the right-handed Webb.

Here’s the lineup:

Ryan Spilborghs    CF

Seth Smith           LF

Todd Helton          1B

Garrett Atkins       3B

Brad Hawpe          RF

Ian Stewart           2B

Troy Tulowitzki      SS

Chris Iannetta        C

Aaron Cook           P

Here’s how the D-backs will addres Rockies sinkerballer Aaron Cook:

 

Felipe Lopez        2B

Chris Young         CF

Stephen Drew      SS

Chad Tracy          3B

Eric Byrnes         RF

Tony Clark           1B

Conor Jackson     LF

Chris Snyder         C

Brandon Webb      P

 

4 Comments

I like the way that Hurdle is thinking early in the season. These early games mean a whole bunch and us Rockies fans know that from last years experience. Go Rockies!!!
-Doug
http://rockiesmania.mlblogs.com

This makes a lot of sense to me. I was thinking yesterday he was going to do this. I guess there’s always a danger if you don’t get the team on board with this, but the guys should be professional enough to realize that they are capable of matchup up against certain pitchers, so they should do it this way. As long as Helton-Atkins-Hawpe are in place, I’d say mix and match.

I thought that Hurdle’s best move as a Rockies manager was letting the boys play during that 22-game stretch in 2007. Seems like when he does too much managing, it comes back to haunt him/us. Barmes has had some amazing starts to seasons in the past. Let him play for crying out loud. I hope that being a late scratch opening day when he’s the more deserving player won’t hurt his momentum this year.

I wish I could have seen the game today, but Fox Sports Rocky Mountain decided to black out the game after advertising it for months. Blog about that, and you’ll find some ticked fans out there.

I’ll be honest: I don’t know about what happened on television. I’ll try to get an answer. As for Hurdle’s decision, it made a lot of sense to me because of the matchups. But, as I wrote about later (before my brain became like a potato pancake — fried after a long and exciting Opening Day), the question is not what we think about the move. It’s what his players think. It seems justified, but the main concern is that the players understand the reasoning. The way the roster looks, there are plenty of opportunities for Hurdle to spring out new lineups, and those lineups need to work.

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