Shane Victorino has hit exclusively from the right side for the past six weeks, so it was a bit of a surprise to see him bat left-handed against Anibal Sanchez in Game 5 of the ALCS on Thursday night. However, after going 0-for-3 against Sanchez, he flipped back to the right side against relievers Jose Veras and Al Alburquerque. And from what he told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, he’s not planning to change things up as the postseason continues.
“I thought I’d give it a try, but it wasn’t what I expected,” Victorino said. “It just wasn’t there. I saw the ball well, but I just wasn’t comfortable with the swing and the whole approach. I felt as if I was trying to rush to get to everything. It’s hard to change, especially since I hadn’t done it for two months.”
Victorino originally abandoned hitting left-handed following a hamstring injury in early August. Prior to Thursday’s game, his last at-bat from the left side was on September 3. The 32-year-old is hitting just .229 (8-for-35) with one extra-base hit and 12 strikeouts this postseason, so the urge to try something different is understandable, but it’s a little late for experimenting. Hey, at least he continues to have a knack for getting hit by pitches.
Pirates first baseman John Jaso hit for the cycle on Wednesday night against the Cubs, becoming the first Pirate to do so since Daryl Ward against the Cardinals on May 26, 2004. It’s the third cycle of the 2016 season, as Jaso joins Freddie Freeman and Rajai Davis.
Jaso singled in the second inning for his first hit. He smashed a three-run homer in the fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie. He hit an RBI double in the fifth to push the Cubs’ lead to 5-1. Then, in the seventh, Jaso hit an RBI triple to make it an 8-4 game.
Coming into Wednesday night, Jaso was hitting an adequate .259/.342/.384 with six home runs and 35 RBI in 416 plate appearances. He’s been limited mostly to right-handed pitching as the Pirates have used David Freese and Josh Bell at the position as well.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 30 games with a single to center field in the bottom of the sixth inning of Wednesday night’s win against the Phillies. Prior to that at-bat, he had grounded out, been hit by a pitch, and walked.
Freeman entered Wednesday night batting .382/.477/.673 with 11 doubles, seven home runs, 27 RBI, and 24 runs scored over his past 29 games. Though his numbers are lacking compared to National League MVP Award favorite Kris Bryant, Freeman will get some top-five votes. On the season, he entered Wednesday hitting .307/.404/.576 with 33 home runs, 88 RBI, and 99 runs scored in 673 plate appearances.
Freeman’s 30-game hitting streak is the longest such streak in the majors this season, according to ESPN Stats & Info. He has also reached base safely in 46 consecutive games.