Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hanley embracing the 2-hole

The Dodgers took care of the Reds on Monday night 6-2, the same night the Kings took a commanding 3-0 lead over the Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final.  Scott Van Slyke was awesome with two homers, and Jonathan Quick was even better with one spectacular save after another.  Not a bad night!

The win makes three of four for the Dodgers, who desperately are trying to find any sort of consistency to make a run at the Giants.  One move that's been made by Don Mattingly to do just that was moving Hanley Ramirez to the #2 spot in the lineup four games ago.  So far, it's been working.  Let's take a look at the numbers:

Dodgers 7, Rockies 2: 2-for-4, BB, 2 RBI, 2 SB
Rockies 5, Dodgers 4 (10 inn.): 0-for-3, 2 BB, SB
Dodgers 6, Rockies 1 (6 inn.): 1-for-2, HR, BB, 2 R, RBI
Dodgers 6, Reds 2: 1-for-4
Totals: 4-for-13, HR, 4 BB, 2 R, 3 RBI, 3 SB

It's not like those numbers are going to wow you, as he still is hitting only .192 in June.  But, his OBP has gone up to .385, as evidenced by his four walks of late.  He's keeping it simple - swing at strikes, don't swing at balls, and let the guys behind him hit him in.

I never thought I'd be writing about Hanley hitting #2, as he's best suited at #3 or #4 if he's on.  But, that's the problem right there - he hasn't been on.  In fact, he's looked anything but "on" this season.  Give him credit for accepting another spot in the order that's less likely to drive in runs.

Combined with Dee Gordon hitting leadoff and Yasiel Puig in the #3 spot, I think the lineup at the top is finally starting to settle in.  Maybe the guys behind him are as well.  Matt Kemp is hitting much better in June, and Van Slyke showed how good he can be if given the chance like Monday.  The only guy who still stinks is Adrian Gonzalez, who looks as lost as ever.  There's a guy who needs to slide down in the lineup, not stay at cleanup.

Even though Hanley has played much better in the #2 spot, I would think if he really does find his swing, then he'll be back in the cleanup spot over time, with Puig staying at #3.  For now, it's fun to watch Hanley show his complete game of hitting and running at the top of the lineup.  I'm not sure how much longer it'll last, but it's fun while it does.

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