[Rafael] Furcal, the incumbent, will hit leadoff. [Juan] Pierre, the newcomer, will bat second. Manager Grady Little considered using them in reverse, but Furcal creates more options hitting first.
Furcal's extra-base power makes him an RBI threat — an important consideration, given that the Dodgers' No. 8 hitter, whether it's right fielder Andre Ethier or third baseman Wilson Betemit, will be perhaps the best in the league.
Pierre's bunting ability, meanwhile, gives Little the option of using bunt-and-run strategies similar to what the Indians employed in the late 1990s, when [Kenny] Lofton and Omar Vizquel were their 1-2 hitters.
Vizquel occasionally would bunt toward third with Lofton on first. The third baseman would charge the ball, leaving the base open, and Lofton would scamper to third safely.
Little told Pierre that he rarely would ask him to sacrifice Furcal to second — "we're not going to give up an out with a man on first who is fully capable of stealing a base" — but he surely would find a two-base sacrifice irresistible....
Pierre also strikes out less and walks less than Lofton, almost always putting the ball in play. His ability to beat out a two-hopper to the left side forces infielders to play at double-play depth, creating opportunities for medium-speed groundballs to skip through.
And then Luis Gonzalez can drive them in with a three-run home run! All righty!