Reyes likely to hit leadoff when he returns

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It’s unclear whether Jose Reyes will be able to make Opening Day — for what it’s worth I agree with the Post’s Joel Sherman that it would be folly to push him simply to make Opening Day  — but when he does return, Jerry Manuel says he’s likely to bat leadoff. This is a reversal of earlier plans to move Reyes down to the three spot while Carlos Beltran is out.  By putting Reyes back at the top of the order, Angel Pagan is likely to move way down — like to sixth or seventh — with Luis Castillo hitting second, David Wright third and Jason Bay cleanup.

The article says the change is because Reyes won’t have time to “to get comfortable hitting in more of a power spot” with which he is unaccustomed.  I don’t pretend to know more about lineup construction than Jerry Manuel does, but apart from stealing less, is batting third that terribly different from leading off? Reyes doesn’t become a different hitter simply because he’s batting third. He doesn’t gain power.  Hopefully he’s trying to get good pitches and drive the ball no matter where he hits. What, exactly, is there to become accustomed to?

Albert Pujols hit his 597th career home run

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Angels DH Albert Pujols smacked his 597th career home run, a two-run shot in the top of the first inning during Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Rays. The blast was off of Erasmo Ramirez and marked No. 6 on the season for the future Hall of Famer.

Pujols finished 1-for-3 with the homer and a walk. After Wednesday’s game, he’s hitting a lackluster .244/.296/.378 with 34 RBI and 14 runs scored in 186 trips to the plate.

Pujols currently ranks ninth on baseball’s all-time leaderboard and is three shy of joining the 600-homer club. He’s currently 13 home runs away from tying Sammy Sosa for eighth all-time.

Chris Sale’s streak of starts with at least 10 strikeouts ends

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale entered Wednesday’s outing against the Rangers with at least 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive starts, tying a record he already shared with Pedro Martinez. He failed do break the record, racking up only six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Fortunately, the Red Sox scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh to put him in line for the win. Sale gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk.

After Wednesday’s outing, Sale is sitting on a 2.34 ERA with a 101/14 K/BB ratio in 73 innings. So far, so good for the Red Sox, who acquired Sale from the White Sox in December.

Sale previously racked up 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive games between May 23 and June 30 in 2015 with the White Sox. Pedro Martinez accomplished the feat for the Red Sox between August 19 and September 27 in 1999.