Leading off, and playing shortstop for the Angels ... Maicer Izturis
Maicer Izturis is in the leadoff spot for Wednesday night's game against the Kansas City Royals, and Manager Mike Scioscia hinted that it won't just be on a one-day, fill-in basis for Erick Aybar, who is being given the night off after starting 52 of the team's first 55 games in the leadoff spot. Howie Kendrick moved from the eighth spot to second.
"We're going to go on a day-to-day, matchup basis," Scioscia said. "Erick is definitely going to hit up there at some point. But if we can get Izzy and Howie doing what they do, it gives a lot of options. I think we've seen the worst of Erick. He has more upside than he's showing."
Aybar has struggled with a .238 batting average and .310 on-base percentage, and the Angels rank 22nd among 30 major league teams with a .309 on-base percentage from the leadoff spot. The Angels' No. 2 hitters have combined for a .305 on-base percentage, which ranks 25th in the major leagues.
Izturis, who has made the bulk of his starts at third base but can also play shortstop and second, hit home runs in each of the first two games against the Royals and entered Wednesday night's game with a .238 average and a .338 on-base percentage.
Asked to rate, on a scale of one to 10, how much the lack of table-setting has contributed to the team's inconsistent offense, Scioscia said, "It's an 11. The number of times we're getting consistent opportunities for the middle of the lineup has been far short of what we need. I don't think we're going to put it all on one or two guys, but it's something we need to address, and we will."
--Mike DiGiovanna in Kansas City, Mo.