Howie Kendrick, clean up hitter
Lineup construction may only exist to amuse us, and if so, Dave Roberts is proving to be very amusing. Roberts sat Adrian Gonzalez yesterday, and instead of doing what he normally does, which is put Adrian’s replacement as the clean-up hitter, he put Scott Van Slyke eighth in the order. The amusing part was Dave using Howie Kendrick as his clean hitter.
I’ve been noticing Howie’s lack of ability to drive in runs in 2016 but Dave must think Howie is due to have that big hit. Kind of like that Scott Van Slyke three-run home the other day.
I decided to look a little deeper. Six players in 2016 have garnered over 200 at-bats and failed to drive in at least 15 runs in the major leagues this year.
Of those six players, only Howie has been used as a clean up hitter. This group consists of lead off or 8/9 hole hitters. Except one. Dave Roberts pet project for 2016, Howie Kendrick. Howie has now had eight games as a cleanup hitter, and in those eight game, collected seven hits, and driven in two runs. In the month of June, Howie has fifty-nine at-bats, and all of three runs batted in.
If it seems that Howie fails in the clutch this year, it is because he does.