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Wait... We Have Bench Players?

Through 7 games, LSU has a total of 280 plate appearances.  Of these, only 21 of them have been by players who weren't in the Opening Day starting lineup.  For a team that came into the season with several question marks on offense, Mainieri's steadfast loyalty to his top guys is pretty remarkable.  Only one bench player has even merited a start (Didier).

Hey, Mainieri has certainly earned the benefit of the doubt here, but I'm shocked there hasn't been any real lineup tinkering, just to see what the other guys have got.  I'm not saying we need to load up on at bats for Mason Katz or anything, but it would be nice just to see what these incoming players have got.  What happens if Dean gets hurt?  Or Nola?  Wouldn't it be nice for the backups just to have some real game action under their belt?

It's not like LSU was playing the powers of college baseball.  These games have been closer to warmups to the real season than anything, though big credit to William & Mary for making these games tough.  No one cares if you lose in February.  Ask last year's national champion, who dropped two of three to Illinois.  This is the time to play with lineups and, yes, maybe lose a game or two in the process trying to find the perfect combination.

And I know it's a small sample size, but Tyler Hanover is currently hitting 143/250/143.  That means are cleanup hitter has an OPS lower than Matt Gaudet's batting average.  Actually, Hanover's OPS of 393 is 33 points lower than the entire team's OBP.  Ouch.  There are slumps and then there's whatever Hanover is going through right now, but he hasn't lost any at bats yet, still starting every game in the middle of the order.

Hanover's been dropped to the #5 slot in the order in favor of Micah Gibbs, but how is Gaudet still hitting #8?  The 6-7-8 hitters of Landry-Mahtook-Gaudet might be better than most team's top three hitters.  That's just silly.  It's still early, but Hanover has got to turn this around and soon or Mainieri might actually have to use his bench.