With Brandon Phillips sidelined due to a hand injury, Billy Hamilton was moved back into the leadoff spot tonight against the Twins. He responded by stealing four bases as part of an 11-7 victory.
Hamilton went 2-for-4 with two walks and three runs scored on the night. He had two steals in the second inning, one in the third, and one more in the fifth.
On the strength of 19 steals this month — including a five-steal game on June 14 against the Cubs — Hamilton is now up to 40 stolen bases on the year. That leads the majors by a wide margin. Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon, who ranks second in the majors, has 26 steals.
To put things in further context, Hamilton has more steals than 15 out of 30 teams in the majors. You are reading that correctly. While it’s a remarkable feat, imagine what Hamilton could do if he got on base more often. He’s hitting .224 with a .273 on-base percentage through 67 games this season.
Pirates starter Chris Archer exited Tuesday night’s start against the Pirates while warming up ahead of the second inning. He was examined by the Pirates’ training staff before walking off the field. The reason is currently unknown but an update should be forthcoming.
Archer allowed a pair of singles before getting consecutive strikeouts to see his way out of the first inning. The 30-year-old right-hander has had a forgettable year in Pittsburgh, entering Tuesday’s action 3-9 with a 5.23 ERA and a 141/55 K/BB ratio in 118 2/3 innings.
The Pirates, overall, are in rough shape, losing 22 of their last 27 games dating back to July 21. They are 51-73, 15.5 games out of first place in the NL Central cellar. It may behoove them to play it safe with Archer since they don’t have anything to play for over the remainder of the regular season. The club holds options for his 2020 and ’21 seasons at $9 million and $11 million, respectively.