Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has switched up the batting order a few times this season. It’s been due to some injuries the team has had to deal with and also been in search of finding a lineup that sticks and can utilize every player to the best of their abilities.
Second baseman Howie Kendrick in particular has been placed in multiple spots, but primarily hit third, fourth and fith. During the Dodgers series in Miami, Mattingly decided to move Kendrick up to the two-hole. The second baseman proceeded to go 7-for-13 in the series batting behind Joc Pederson each day.
According to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, Mattingly likes batting Kendrick second:
I kind of like him up there in that 2-hole a little bit. He’s interesting up there,” Mattingly said of Kendrick. “Theoretically, if you can get Joc on base, he (Kendrick) hits a lot of balls to that right side. It creates some holes over there.”
Kendrick’s most career games have come batting sixth, but in 185 career games batting second he is batting .268 with 17 home runs and 88 RBIs. He’s batting .288 on the season with six home runs and 33 RBIs in 69 starts.
Of his RBIs, 24 have come when batting fourth, where Kendrick has been placed in the lineup for 34 games, roughly half of his total played this season. One of the main reason the Dodgers traded for the 31-year-old in the offseason is because of his versatility and ability to bat anywhere in the lineup and defensive upgrade.
With players shuffling in and out of the lineup due to injury, Kendrick’s ability to hit from several spots has been key. Additionally, Kendrick has said he’s comfortable anywhere in the order.