Shohei Ohtani has consistently moved up the batting order for the Los Angeles Angels since breaking into the majors, and his most recent promotion just bumped the best hitter in baseball out of his normal spot.
When the Angels take the field Tuesday night against the Houston Astros, the first batter Gerrit Cole will have to face will be Mike Trout, followed immediately by Ohtani batting out of the No. 2 hole.
For Trout, it's the first time in 2018 the 26-year-old will not hit second. In nearly half of his 954 starts, Trout has hit out of the No. 2 hole. Leadoff is not completely foreign to the two-time MVP, though. As a leadoff hitter in his career, Trout owns a .325.399/.561 slash line through 739 plate appearances.
Meanwhile, this will be the first time Ohtani bats higher than cleanup in his short major-league career. Opening the season batting eighth, the two-way phenom has rocketed up the Angels' lineup card as the designated hitter thanks to a .348/.392/.652 slash line with five home runs.
The duo's assignment in the wake of the lineup shuffle is to crack Astros' breakout ace Cole. The right-hander owns a 1.43 ERA and 1.54 FIP through his eight starts for the defending World Series champions since being acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates during the offseason.
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