The Cincinnati Reds open a three-game series on the road this evening against the Detroit Tigers, and rookie sensation Elly De La Cruz will be batting much further down in the batting order than he's used to.
Reds manager David Bell has bumped De La Cruz all the way down to No. 7 in the lineup tonight with Tigers left-hander Joey Wentz on the bump for Detroit.
De La Cruz, who's been electric on the base paths, has struggled at the plate at various times this year and has especially labored against southpaws.
David Bell shockingly does the right thing, moves Elly De La Cruz down in batting order.
Jonathan India, who just returned from the injured list on Sunday, will lead things off for the Cincinnati Reds tonight in the Motor City. He'll be followed by Nick Senzel and Spencer Steer. The next two batters are also right-handed with Hunter Renfroe and Tyler Stephenson occupying the No. 4 and No. 5 spots in the batting order.
David Bell won't even send a left-handed hitter to the plate until Joey Votto comes up to bat. Votto will bat sixth and be followed by Elly De La Cruz, Harrison Bader, and TJ Friedl.
While this will be the first time that De La Cruz is batting lower than fourth in the Cincinnati lineup, it's unquestionably the correct decision on the part of Bell. According to FanGraphs, De La Cruz is hitting just .188/.228/.281 with a wRC+ of 30 against left-handed pitching this season. The switch-hitting shortstop has a 43.1-percent strikeout-rate against lefties.
Against right-handers, Elly De La Cruz can more than hold his own (.254/.323/.463 with a wRC+ of 102). But with the Cincinnati Reds facing back-to-back games with a left-hander toeing the rubber, expect to see De La Cruz in the bottom-third of the batting order.