Royals try something new: Alex Gordon hits first, Eric Hosmer third

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Having scored five runs while losing their last four games, the Royals opted for a lineup shakeup on Wednesday against the Rangers and right-hander Alexi Ogando:

1. Alex Gordon – LF
2. Melky Cabrera – CF
3. Eric Hosmer – 1B
4. Jeff Francoeur – RF
5. Billy Butler – DH
6. Wilson Betemit – 3B
7. Matt Treanor – C
8. Chris Getz – 2B
9. Alcides Escobar – SS

It seems worth a try, even though Gordon is slumping badly at the moment. Coincidence or not, he’s batting .191 in 68 at-bats since the Royals decided to shift him from left field to first base for a couple of games.

Primarily batting sixth, Hosmer is hitting .270/.349/.568 in 37 at-bats since his callup earlier this month.  He did bat third once before when Gordon was getting a night off, and he homered in that one to help the Royals beat the Yankees.

The questionable choice is to bat Francoeur in the cleanup spot against a righty.  He’s hitting .220 in his last 11 games and his OPS is 400 points higher against lefties this season.  Butler is struggling as well, but he has a .386 OBP against righties this year, compared to Francoeur’s .323 mark.  With only one major league hitter behind him, it’s hard to like his chances of scoring after a double or a walk.

Alex Wood to try pitching out of the stretch

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Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.

Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.

Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.

In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”