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Angels, in need of an offensive spark, move David Murphy to leadoff spot

David Murphy

Angels left fielder David Murphy hits a single during the second inning of a game against the Mariners in Seattle on Sept. 14.

(Otto Greule Jr. / Getty Images)

Angels left fielder David Murphy’s success against Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez was the impetus for a lineup change, with Murphy moving to the leadoff spot for Tuesday night’s game at Safeco Field, but Manager Mike Scioscia said the switch will be for more than one game.

Kole Calhoun, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols each moved one spot down in the order and will bat second, third and fourth.

“Part of it is changing the neighborhood a little bit to see if maybe we can set the table a little better for the guys in middle,” Scioscia said. “Maybe it will give us a little spark, a little bit of a jump-start.”

The Angels have scored 22 runs in the last seven games and hit .158 (six for 38) with runners in scoring position in that span. Murphy has done a decent job in the cleanup spot, batting .264 with three homers and 11 runs batted in in 28 games since being acquired from Cleveland on July 28.

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But he has been exceptional against Hernandez, with a .296 career average (24 for 81), three homers and 16 RBIs against the 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner, who is 7-1 with an 0.91 earned-run average and 103 strikeouts in his last 12 starts against the Angels. No player has more RBIs off Hernandez.

“I’ve had some good games against him, and he’s had some good games against me,” Murphy said. “I’ve had plenty of at-bats against him and know what he features, but every day is a new day against him, and what I’ve done in the past does nothing for tonight. It would be nice if it did.”

Murphy has only four starts in the leadoff spot in his 10 years in the big leagues, the last one coming in 2010, but he doesn’t believe it will be a difficult transition for him.

“It’s not something I expected, but if he’s trying to shake up the lineup, I’m all for whatever he thinks is best for the team,” Murphy said. “At the end of the day, is it really that much different?

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“You’re not trying to do anything different if you’re leading off an inning. You’re trying to spark something. If you come up later in the game with guys on base, you’re trying to drive in runs. So it’s not a big difference.”

Follow Mike DiGiovanna on Twitter @MikeDiGiovanna


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