What do you get when you take a left-handed slugger and a left-handed singles hitter and put them together in left field? If you are Charlie Manuel, you might have the makings of one of the stranger platoon combinations that you will see.
Several times during the latter stages of spring training, Manuel pointed to Juan Pierre's numbers against left-handed pitchers as one of the reasons the veteran leadoff man would make an intriguing addition to the Opening Day roster. Well, Opening Day is tomorrow, and Pierre just might be in the line-up against veteran lefty Erik Bedard.
In 1961 career plate appearances against left-handed pitchers, Pierre has hit .305 with a .363 on base percentage and .345 slugging percentage. His line against righties? .293/.339/.369.
On the other side we have Laynce Nix, who has a .256/.296/.451 career line again righties and a .181/.235/.222 line against lefties.
Nix's numbers against righties are better over the last three seasons. He has posted an OPS of at least .781 in each of those years.
Might we see a lefty/lefty platoon? With John Mayberry Jr. expected to see significant playing time at first base, Manuel just might make Pierre his lefty lefty specialist.
If you combine the career platoon splits of Nix against righties and Pierre against lefties, you get a .282/.329/.390 batting line. Still not great. But the first two numbers are higher than the ones Raul Ibanez finished 2011 with while playing every day.
Just something to think about as the Phillies get ready to work out at PNC Park.