Daily Distractions: Josh Hamilton’s 4 for 4 night gives Angels something to think about.

Josh Hamilton

Josh Hamilton’s 4 for 4 performance Monday extended a career’s worth of success batting fifth, for whatever that’s worth. (Associated Press photo)

Josh Hamilton was 4 for 4 as the Angels’ number-five hitter last night. It wasn’t always pretty – two of the hits were weak infield grounders – but it allowed Hamilton to score twice.

“I don’t know what it is about the five hole but it seemed to work,” he said.

You’d think Hamilton would have figured this out by now. Here are his career splits by batting order position:

This is one of those tricky stats because of all the variables involved. For one, the number-five hitter is slightly more likely to bat against relievers than a number-three or number-four hitter. Given a large enough sample size, there will be a noticeable difference. (This wasn’t the case last night, when Jason Frasor relieved Derek Holland after number-eight hitter Chris Iannetta batted and doubled in the sixth inning.)

More importantly, when you see a player like Hamilton who gets a plurality of his at-bats in the three-hole then moves to the five-hole on occasion, it’s often because the manager made the move based on matchups. This was the case last night. Maybe Holland pitched Hamilton differently because he didn’t want to face Howie Kendrick , who owns a 1.074 career OPS in 43 career head-to-head at-bats. Maybe he pitched Hamilton differently because Hamilton’s batting average was below .200.

Either way, it was a good matchup.

Mike Scioscia said that Hamilton is likely to move down in the lineup against right-handers tonight (Alexi Ogando) and tomorrow (Yu Darvish).

Maybe Scioscia will reconisder. There’s something about the five-hole.

Some bullet points for a Tuesday morning:

• Not to be overlooked: With every pitcher he faced working out of the stretch, Kendrick went 2 for 3 last night with two RBIs, a double and a walk. Kendrick was batting .176 in the previous nine games.

• Bill Hall has reported to Triple-A Salt Lake.

• If A.J. Pierzynski was rubbing it in when he thumped his chest (sort of) rounding the bases after hitting the game-winning home run last night, he did not do so in his postgame comments. “This will always be a special place for me,” he said of Anaheim. “I think the fans are awesome. They’re passionate. They’re energetic.”

• Major League Baseball will host private screenings of the film “42” for high schoolers across the U.S. and Canada. Clubs will select students in grades 8-12 from their respective communities to fill local theaters for the screenings. Commissioner Bud Selig will personally host the first screening in Milwaukee tonight with Sharon Robinson, Jackie Robinson‘s daughter.

• FYI, Orange County is 2.2 percent African American.

• From SportsIllustrated.com: While teams still preach the religion of driving up pitch counts to “get into the bullpen” of the other team, they may be pushing an outdated agenda. So fortified are major league bullpens these days, especially with hard throwers, that last year relievers posted an ERA more than half a run lower than starters and averaged almost one strikeout for every inning. The best idea is to strike quickly; teams that get a lead after as little as two innings win 70 percent of the time.

• Richie Havens died of a heart attack Monday. He hadn’t been performing live for years, and that was a shame. Havens was Phish before Phish, and the Grateful Dead before the Grateful Dead, a performer whose music had to be experienced live to be appreciated. His breakthrough performance came at Woodstock, but if you haven’t heard of Havens it’s because his music was (like Phish and the Dead) not as commercially viable as fellow Woodstockers Jimi Hendrix, Santana, or Crosby, Stills and Nash. Here he is at Woodstock:

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.