Lineup notes: Hamilton 2nd
For the second time this season (and his career) Billy Hamilton started a game batting second in the lineup on Thursday vs. the Brewers.
Hamilton, who has picked up lately after a slow start and struggles last season, has mostly been batting ninth (13 times) and is ideally a leadoff hitter. But manager Bryan Price likes the idea of trying him at the second spot, and keeping Eugenio Suarez down in the sixth spot after he batted second most of the first month of the season.
“[Hamilton] is swinging the bat better, that’s first and foremost. No. 2, I really felt like I wanted Suarez further down in the lineup,” Price said on Thursday. “He’s already been, but I think he’s going to be a really productive offensive player. As much as we’ve discussed the importance of the second spot in the lineup and who is best situated … I just think for Billy to affect us in a positive way offensively, he’s got to be down here being somewhat more disruptive while these other guys are hitting. In order for this to work, he has to continue to swing the bat well and get on base.
“I would love to see him run with it. I think he’s put a lot of hard work in. He’s getting closer to putting those good, consistent swings on the ball. If that happens there, we have a nice dynamic there more towards the top than the bottom.”
Price did not want to move Zack Cozart out of the leadoff spot in favor of Hamilton. Why?
“Because of love what Zack is doing,” Price said. “There are certain things you just don’t want to mess with. I think with Billy hitting first, Zack is in a position of having to take more pitches. Right now he can go up there and zone a pitch and not feel like he’s got to give Billy a chance to run. I think that’s a good thing. Zack is taking advantage of the good pitches early in the count to hit, laying off the ones that aren’t good pitches. I don’t want to disrupt the flow of what he’s doing there.”