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)
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: