"1. Not dropping AJ. Carl Crawford got dropped in the lineup, AJ didn't Nuff said."
So your criticism here is that Leyland should have done things more like a team that missed the playoffs and fired their manager?
The minute Fielder truly starts hitting AL pitching those intentional walks will drop for Cabrera.
Secondly, most teams will do that to other 1-2 punches (i.e Utley/Howard, Tulo/CarGo, Mauer/Morneau, etc.)
Yes, you want to avoid the 3-run HR if you walk Cabrera to get to Fielder but you gotta look at two things:
1. Fielder is a double play candidate.2. You get Fielder out in any manner besides the double play, you go directly to Delmon. And most pitchers would say "I'd rather pitch to Fielder and Young than Cabrera and Fielder."
Until Fielder goes on a torrid pace, Cabrera will still be pitched around a bit.
I'm not sure I buy the whole "protection" theory anyway.
I don't think it's unreasonable at all with less than two outs to walk Cabrera to get to Fielder. Why would you want to give the Tigers' big hitters two shots at getting that big hit, when you can limit them to one?
It'll depend on how well Fielder is hitting. If he's hitting "okay" Cabrera will still be walked a good bit.
If he's crushing the ball, Cabrera is going to have better opportunities to hit IMO.
<<1. Not dropping AJ. Carl Crawford got dropped in the lineup, AJ didn't Nuff said.>>
<<2. Not having a consistent BOTTOM of the lineup.>>
Most teams don't have a consistent bottom of the lineup. If you find one, tell me about it.
<<3. Replacing Cabrera and Fielder caliber players with Kelly and Inge type players, and slotting them in the lineup in the position of the guy they replaced.>>
I can find no instances of Cabrera getting replaced by a Kelly/Inge type player last year. The only other guy who hit cleanup was VMart. Martinez was replaced by Boesch, Raburn, Avila, or Peralta. I found one instance where Dirks hit there and one instance where Betemit hit there.
"I can find no instances of Cabrera getting replaced by a Kelly/Inge type player"
It's happened before.
"In what was one of the more pathetic and lackluster lineups the Tigers have used all season, Detroit had none other than Don Kelly and his .250 batting average and three RBI batting cleanup behind Miguel Cabrera. Don Kelly? When we start seeing a guy with zero career homeruns and four career extra-base hits to his name batting fourth and providing protection (or lack thereof) for Cabrera"
I specified "last year" in my post, but the fact you had to go back to July of 2009 to find an example tells me that it's not as big of an issue as you perceive.
Also, look at the rest of that lineup. Who should be hitting cleanup? Josh Anderson? Adam Everett? Laird? Santiago? Maybe pull old Clete Thomas off the bench?
Let's face it, offense was not our strong suit in 2009. It looks funny to see Inge hitting fifth, but he hit 27 HRs that year.