Kiermaier will start in center field and bat second in the order Wednesday against the Indians, Bill Chastain of MLB.com reports. Kiermaier will occupy the two hole for the second game in a row with Brad Miller (abdomen) receiving the afternoon off. Manager Kevin Cash had previously deployed Kiermaier as the No. 8 hitter when Miller was healthy, but it's not out of the question for Kiermaier to maintain a favorable spot in the lineup even once Miller is cleared to return to action. After struggling through much of the first month and a half of the season, Kiermaier seems to have turned a corner over the last five games, recording seven hits in 17 at-bats, including a pair of homers and doubles.
Kiermaier went 2-for-2 with a solo home run, a walk and two runs in Monday's 8-7 loss to the Indians. Kiermaier's impressive tear continues, as he's now posted two-hit efforts in three of his last four games, a stretch that's included two homers. The 27-year-old outfielder's May slash line (.271/.375/.438) is a drastic improvement over his April effort, particularly in the area of slugging, a category in which he'd generated an anemic .300 figure during the season's opening month.
Kiermaier went 2-for-4 with an RBI infield single and two runs in Sunday's 11-2 win over the Red Sox. Kiermaier now has hits in three straight and six of his last seven, a modest streak that's nevertheless a welcome sight for a player whose average had dipped to .205 before the current stretch. The Gold Glover was hitting .294 as recently as April 21, so his subsequent free fall was a significant one. Recent performances may signify that Kiermaier has snapped out of the funk, and Sunday's run-scoring single means his May RBI total (seven) is more than double his total for all of April (three).
Kiermaier went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer in Saturday's loss to Boston. The dinger came off Chris Sale, and was his second round-tripper of the season. It was nice to see Kiermaier contribute offensively -- especially off a lefty -- but with a slash line of .218/.311/.303 and wOBA of .277, he has offered very little fantasy value this season outside of the occasional stolen base.
Kiermaier (hand) is batting eighth and starting in center field Saturday against the Blue Jays, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Time reports. Kiermaier is dealing with a bruised hand after leaving Friday's game following a hit-by-pitch. Nonetheless, it appears he's good to go after taking batting practice Saturday morning, a very fortunate sign considering his premature exit. The 27-year-old has been struggling from the plate recently to the tune of a 2-for-24 clip, yet remains an everyday presence in the Tampa Bay outfield.
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