The Perfect 2-hole Hitter
Placido Polanco became just the 30th player in the history of Major League Baseball to hit a grand slam on opening day. While playing for the Phillies for two and a half seasons between 2003 and 2005, he quickly became a fan favorite because of solid defense and his ability to put the ball into play, not because of his power numbers. How many players can say they have tallied more doubles than strikeouts twice in the last 5 seasons?
As a die hard Phillies fan of course I was impressed to see Placido Polanco start the season with a grand slam and 6 runs batted in. As a student of baseball I was impressed by his situational hitting and his ability to put the ball into play in all 6 plate appearances.
In his first at bat he would come to the plate with Rollins on first base and a huge gap between 1st baseman Adam Dunn and 2nd baseman Adam Kennedy. He would take an outside pitch to the right side missing it slightly ending up as a fly out to right field. After grounding into a fielders choice in his next at bat he would come to the plate with the bases loaded in the 4th inning. With only a 3 run lead he hit a sacrifice fly to left field scoring Shane Victorino.
Two innings later, after Rollins tripled to deep right center, Polanco pulled a fast ball between a drawn-in infield of Ryan Zimmerman at 3rd and Ian Desmond at Short Stop for his second RBI of the day. His next plate appearance produced a 2 out grand slam in the top of the 7th inning increasing the Phillies lead to 10 runs. Then, once again in the 9th inning he would come up to bat with Ruiz on first base and another gap between first baseman Adam Dunn and 2nd baseman Adam Kennedy. He would rectify his first inning blunder and hit a grounder in the gap for his third hit of the game.
To summarize just how well of a two-hole hitter Placido Polanco is he took two balls to right with men on first base, hit a sacrifice fly with a man on third and a small lead, hit a grand slam with two outs, and pulled a ball with a drawn-in infield to score Jimmy Rollins from 3rd base.