Ron Washington intends to use Ian Kinsler out of the leadoff spot this season

8 Comments

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.

Cardinals tab Miles Mikolas for Opening Day start

Miles Mikolas
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.

The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.

Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.