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July 17, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy (2) throws the ball to first base to get out Minnesota Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe (not pictured) in the eighth inning at Target Field. The Twins won 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Lineup Shakeup – Listen to Me Buck!

< This note is mostly to Buck Showalter, but others may read it if you’d like to! >

Since Buck Showalter clearly read my all-star break column (repeating my spring training conclusion) that Nick Markakis should bat leadoff, the Orioles right fielder has gone 12 for 31 with 3 walks – an on-base percentage of .441!

So Skipper – it should give you plenty of confidence to heed this additional free advice about your lineup for tomorrow night. You won’t even need to highlight this in the postgame interview. Since my last name has often led to me also being called “Buck,” just a wink with a “thanks from one Buck to another” will suffice!

Tomorrow’s game (Friday) is against Derek Lowe pitching for the Indians. Here is your starting lineup:

Markakis – RF

Betemit – 3B

Jones – CF

Wieters – C

Davis – LF

Reynolds – 1B

Thome – DH

Hardy – SS

Tolleson/Flaherty – 2B

The main feature of this shakeup is to move Hardy out of the two hole and down the lineup. I’m as big a fan of J.J. as anyone out there, and I cannot explain this mother of all batting slumps whatsoever. But it seems to me that the time is now well past to move him to a less pressurized part of the order. Betemit is a good choice to bat second, as he had two hits against Lowe on the 29th of June. He will be batting left-handed and can hit the ball behind Markakis.

The next feature of the order is to move Jones up to the third spot. Buck: even though you are only two years younger than me, you are not likely to have been a daily Orioles fan as was I when we were kids and our friends were smoking pot. But, Frank Robinson always batted third in the Orioles lineup. Yes, I know Boog was behind him … but this will get Adam to the dish one spot sooner. That really could have helped earlier today when Thome was there in that spot with the bases loaded and one out, and hit into a double play. Besides, as you may recall, Wieters in the fourth spot against Lowe makes sense, since Matt hit a homer off him just three weeks ago!

The third feature of this order is to also drop Thome down the lineup. Yes, all 609 home runs of him. That was then; this is now … and now, Davis, Wieters, and heck – even Reynolds – are more likely to hit the long ball than is this new-to-us fellow. I’ve moved him to 7th, and so should you. I’d probably rather have him sixth, but like the way you’ve always done it, I agree we need to break up the lefties.

OK, feel free to switch Reynolds and Hardy if you must (in the sixth and eighth spots). But it seems that Reynolds has figured out a few things in recent days, so maybe we should ride this horse before it breaks down again.

That’s it … but if you want to get to me more directly, you can tweet me:  @OSayOrioles

No pressure, just don’t mess up!

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Tags: Adam Jones Baltimore Orioles Buck Showalter J.J. Hardy Jim Thome Nick Markakis

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