October 21st, 2009

Guillen and the Tigers lineup

Jason Beck / MLB.com

Carlos Guillen said a lot about his own situation, both last week and over the weekend. What separated his comments over the weekend, beyond his stance that he didn’t want to play left field because of how the situation played out last year, was his frustration over Leyland’s lineup tinkering. Those comments weren’t just about himself, but the team in general.

It painted a picture of frustration over how much criticism hitters received for the Tigers’ struggles. To listen to Guillen tell it, the amount of lineup tinkering made it difficult for any hitter to get into a groove.

“Before he points the finger at the offense, he’d better look in the mirror and see what he did,” Guillen said Sunday. “I don’t want to make an excuse, but nobody in the big leagues feels comfortable when you play [lineups] that way. It’s not fun to play like that.”

Those are remarks that go beyond Guillen’s own situation and towards the team as a whole.

According to baseball-reference.com, manager Jim Leyland used 126 different batting orders this year, not including pitchers during Interleague Play. The most common order was used just seven times. That’s actually more stable than last year, when Detroit used 131 different orders, none more than five times. But it’s still more lineups than in 2007 or 2006. The Tigers used 107 orders in ’07, one of them 25 times.

Guillen said it’s difficult for an offense to be consistent when someone gets three hits one night and is sitting the next. Leyland countered that maybe some guys were productive precisely because they didn’t play day in and day out. He also indicated it was a shared responsibility for the organization for not getting it done, and that both he and GM Dave Dombrowski had accepted their blame.

By the way, Guillen confirmed Tuesday he had talked with Leyland on Monday, and that they basically reached an understanding about his situation. It isn’t exactly bliss, but it’s something he’s accepting now.