How low should Hardy go?

The Orioles are a season-worst 26 games below .500, but who’s counting?

I completely forgot to pass along reliever Willie Eyre’s uniform number yesterday when I first entered the clubhouse. He wore No. 50, which you probably noticed if you watched the game.

Chris Davis produced three great plays at first base last night. He made a diving stop of Victor Martinez’s smash along the line and got the out, saving two runs in the process. He made a lunging grab of an Alex Avila line drive to end the seventh. And he made a diving catch of a ball from Avila in the eighth that slammed off Eyre’s foot and caromed toward first.

That one was especially remarkable.

Don’t be fooled by Davis’ size. He can play the position. He’s more nimble that you’d imagine. He’s not quite in Derrek Lee’s defensive league, but he’s good.

J.J. Hardy homered twice, giving him 23 for the season. He trails team-leader Mark Reynolds by three.

Hardy was batting second again, with Nolan Reimold occupying the leadoff spot.

I’ve read a few suggestions here that Hardy should move down to third or cleanup. I did a little research and found that he’s never batted fourth. He’s hit third in 11 games, going 9-for-43 (.209) with a double, one homer, four RBIs and a .579 OPS.

Hardy has batted fifth in 31 games, going 24-for-104 (.231) with four doubles, a triple, two homers, 10 RBIs and a .620 OPS.

Those two averages are his lowest for any spot in the lineup. Before last night, he was a career .260 hitter batting first, .268 batting second, .285 batting sixth, .264 batting seventh and eighth, and .257 batting ninth.

I’m not suggesting that those numbers preclude him from moving to third, fourth or fifth. Just providing a little data for the debate.

I get the feeling that Hardy will hit no matter where he’s slotted.

I’m liking the idea of batting him third behind Nick Marakakis and ahead of Adam Jones, but I can’t say that I’m completely sold on Reimold being atop the order. And as manager Buck Showalter points out, he doesn’t have a lot of leadoff options on this team.

Reimold walked in the bottom of the first last night and scored on Hardy’s home run, but he grounded to short in his next three at-bats and struck out with the tying run on third base to end the game.

Here was Showalter’s quote yesterday on having Reimold bat first:

“With Brian (Roberts) being out just about the whole season it seems like, we’ve kind of had to shuffle it around a lot. If you look at his numbers against right-handed hitters, this year and his career, and you look at a short sampling with Nolan and Nolan is running real well and it puts people in places where they might fit better. We’ve had some decent success when we went into it like this. We’ll see where it takes us.

“Every once in a while, you can get a little stale with things. Nothing that giving up six runs in three innings wouldn’t help a lot, either. What comes first? I think that kind of wears on an offense sometimes. You really look at the offensive numbers, you might look at them a whole lot different if we were a lot more consistent with our starting pitching. There are some good things happening there if we could just stay in the ballgame and pitch a little deeper.

“Nolan told me today that I guess in 2010 he hit in every spot in the order. That’s pretty remarkable.”

blog comments powered by Disqus