Rangers manager Ron Washington raised some eyebrows earlier this week when he used Ian Kinsler out of the leadoff spot in the team’s intersquad game.
While Washington warned against looking too much into the decision at the time, he confirmed to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News today that Kinsler will indeed be his leadoff hitter this season.
“This just gives me versatility in the lineup,” Washington said. “I think I can get more out of it like this.”
Kinsler has a .284/.350/.492 career batting line in 1,248 plate appearances out of the leadoff spot. He was the team’s primary leadoff hitter from 2008-09. Elvis Andrus, who had 632 plate appearances out of the leadoff spot last season, will bat out of the No. 2 hole this year, while Michael Young will bat sixth.
While this is Washington’s ideal lineup on paper, Kinsler’s extensive injury history suggests that the Texas skipper might have to make some adjustments at certain points of the season.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.