Looking at MLB’s least productive positions to date

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Nationals left fielders, “led” by Xavier Nady, have amassed an MLB-low .406 OPS in 101 at-bats to date, hitting just .119 with no homers and six RBI.

Here’s the list of the worst OPSs by team and position so far, along with the player most responsible for the poor showing.

LF Nationals – .406 (.119/.237/.168) – Nady
3B Athletics – .424 (.133/.186/.238) – Josh Donaldson
3B White Sox – .435 (.178/.217/.218) – Brent Morel
2B Tigers – .436 (.148/.208/.227) – Ryan Raburn
SS Padres – .439 (.138/.248/.191) – Jason Bartlett
CF Cubs – .469 (.183/.248/.221) – Marlon Byrd
C Pirates – .473 (.156/.240/.233) – Rod Barajas
SS White Sox – .476 (.196/.217/.259) – Alexei Ramirez
1B Indians – .484 (.150/.234/.250) – Casey Kotchman
RF Twins – .492 (.156/.221/.271) – Clete Thomas
2B Athletics – .493 (/165/.229/.264) – Jemile Weeks
DH Tigers – .497 (.183/.218/.279) – Delmon Young
1B Mets – .503 (.182/.231/.273) – Ike Davis
DH Mariners – .504 (.184/.223/.281) – Jesus Montero
SS Angels – .506 (.211/.259/.248) – Erick Aybar
SS Pirates – .507 (.172/.204/.303) – Clint Barmes
SS Phillies – .516 (.214/.268/.248) – Jimmy Rollins
3B Twins – .515 (.198/.219/.297) – Danny Valencia
2B Giants – .520 (.235/.275/.245) – Ryan Theriot
SS Mariners – .525 (.174/.275/.250) – Brendan Ryan
2B Twins – .532 (.228/.260/.272) – Alexi Casilla
C Padres – .538 (.171/.252/.286) – Nick Hundley
C Athletics – .540 (.217/.257/.283) – Kurt Suzuki
CF Brewers – .540 (.205/.246/.295) – Nyjer Morgan
SS Twins – .542 (.208/.304/.238) – Jamey Carroll

– It’s pretty hard to believe, but in Chase Utley’s absence, Phillies second basemen have still outproduced the shortstops and third basemen. That’s because Pete Orr has been a nice surprise with a .714 OPS in nine games. Freddy Galvis has a .571 OPS in 26 games at second base.

– The Pirates’ big winter signings both appear on the list, as Barajas and Barmes have really brought the offense down. They were picked up more for their gloves, of course, but they’ve made it really tough for the Pirates to get anything going towards the bottom of their lineup.

– If I had a better feeling who to blame among Ron Gardenhire and Terry Ryan for the Twins’ right field mess, I would have listed him instead of Thomas. Minnesota’s original plan was to play Josh Willingham in right and Ben Revere in left, but Willingham was moved to left late in the spring and right field has been a disaster area since. Revere wouldn’t have been anything special either, but he almost surely would have been better than this.

A.J. Hinch: “We’ll use every pitcher in Game 7 if we have to”

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It’s not entirely clear why the Astros threw Ken Giles into the ninth inning of Game 6 of the ALCS. With a six-run advantage and the bottom half of the Yankees’ lineup due up, pushing the series to its seven-game capacity looked like a sure bet. Giles may be one of Houston’s better bullpen arms, but he’s not their only option, and it would have made more sense to keep him fresh for a do-or-die Game 7 on Saturday night.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a sure bet when it comes to postseason baseball. That’s more or less what Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch had to say after the game, telling reporters that he had envisioned a quick three outs from his closer as they tried to pull back from the brink of elimination. “We didn’t have the luxury of limping into that inning,” Hinch said. “We’ve seen how these guys can explode in these innings.”

It’s not difficult to recall the Yankees’ explosive drive in the eighth inning of Game 4, when they exploited the holes in Houston’s ‘pen and evened the series with Gary Sanchez‘s go-ahead double off of Giles. Back home in Minute Maid Park, however, there was a slightly different feel to the eighth and ninth innings of Game 6. Jose Altuve led off the eighth with a solo home run, followed by Alex Bregman‘s two-run double and Evan Gattis‘ sac fly. In the ninth, Giles labored through a 23-pitch outing to lock down the win, handing out a base hit and a seven-pitch walk before eventually whiffing Chase Headley on three straight pitches for the last out.

So, while Hinch’s decision to lean on Giles in Game 6 may have felt wasteful, his concerns were not entirely unfounded. He’s prepared to roll with the same strategy during Saturday’s series finale, too, leaving nothing on the table as the Astros battle for their first World Series showdown since 2005. According to Dallas Keuchel, that means all hands on deck — except for Justin Verlander, whose four wins, 24 strikeouts and 1.46 postseason ERA have gotten the Astros as far as he could possibly be expected to take them. “No pitcher is going to be in the dugout,” said Keuchel. “They’re all going to be in the bullpen, myself included. Any way we can help out, we’re trying to get to the World Series, the same way the Yankees are, and that’s a nice feeling to have.”

Does that mean Giles will be available for a Game 7 appearance? Stranger things have happened. Joe Sheehan notes that the right-hander has pitched in back-to-back days 13 times this year, though he’s never thrown as many as 23 pitches on Day 1. Granted, he likely doesn’t have enough left in the tank for another 20+ pitch run on Saturday, but with the World Series on the line, any help he can offer will be invaluable.