When all else fails, expect the unexpected, I suppose.
Now, this is going to going to seem painfully obvious, but Josh Hamilton is not a no. 2 hitter. He wasn’t one when he hit a career-high 43 home runs last year, and not the year before, and certainly not in his MVP season before that either. In fact, Hamilton hasn’t batted in the second spot in a lineup since 2009, when he had all of one at-bat (that happened to result in an RBI, if you were wondering) as a pinch hitter.
The thing is, though, the outfielder just hasn’t been much of a hitter for the Los Angeles Angels at all, regardless of his place in the lineup.
So the no. 2 spot it was, then. The experiment started on Saturday’s doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox, where Hamilton went 1-for-5 with a double. Then in the second game, he doubled again.
I think you see where this is going.
Yes, we’re obviously talking about an extremely small and potentially completely meaningless 20-PA sample size here, but after Hamilton’s 2-for-5 night on Monday against the Baltimore Orioles that included his first home run of June (and first in 15 games), could Mike Scioscia and the Angels be on to something here?
Now, Hamilton still isn’t doing very much hitting overall with just four hits over the last four games, but that three of those hits have gone for extra bases might be the dimmest of lights at the end of what is now a very long tunnel reaching deep into the baseball abyss.
Then again, considering that he’d doubled in each of the two games prior to his next lineup spot, maybe its grasping at straws to assume that the bizzaro arrangement of a Mike Trout–Josh Hamilton–Albert Pujols 1-2-3 that the Angels have employed over the last few games has had any real positive effects (the team has lost three of their last four games).
Yet, grasping at straws are just what the Angels are left with at this point of their disastrous season; and at least for the time being, those straws are turning into extra-base hits for Hamilton.