2) Alcides Escobar Batting Second Is Driving Me Nuts
Not so long ago, I wrote in support of Ned Yost’s decision to bat Alcides Escobar at lead-off, based on psychology. However, once the losing streak caused Yost to shake up his lineup, I would have though it was the perfect opportunity to move Escobar to the bottom of the lineup where his numbers suggest he belongs.
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Instead, Yost installed him in the no. 2 hole.
Of course, the KC Royals then scored five runs after a string of games in which they only plated four runs in six games. The next night, the Royals broke their eight game losing streak and went on to win eight of their next nine games. Which, of course, locked in Escobar as the team’s no. 2 hitter.
I supposed Yost’s logic might be changing Escobar’s approach at the plate similar to putting Mike Moustakas at no. 2 last season. If hitting behind the fast Whit Merrifield forces Escobar to take more pitches, he might develop more patience. I guess there’s an argument for the move, but I really doubt it will work. I think getting Escobar to take more pitches will just put him down in the count more often, which means he’ll be hacking at more two-strike pitches.
Yes, Escobar stroked two-hits on Tuesday. His slash line improved to a whole .249/.274/.298. He doesn’t take walks. He’s a poor two-strike hitter. And I don’t see any evidence of a changed approach at the plate which would go along with putting him at the no. 2 spot.
To me, putting Escobar at no. 2 looks like he accomplishing nothing but giving more at bats to one of the worst hitters in baseball.
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