J.J. Hardy's days of mixed league relevancy are a thing of the past. The power he hit with in the earlier part of this decade is gone, stolen by Father Time. The durability he had at that same time is also gone, taken by the same man. 34 years old is old for shortstop, but unlike others in recent years, Hardy has not lost much defensively at all. That is why he is still in the lineup when he is healthy because his glove deserves to be out there and the groundball pitchers on his team appreciate it. The issue for our purposes is that despite all that, Hardy is a bottom of the lineup hitter that no longer runs, no longer hits with power and does not drive many runners in. You can't even count on his average, but you can almost guarantee that he won't hit over .270 because he has not done so in eight seasons.
Hardy is not in the lineup Wednesday against the Rays. Hardy went hitless in each of his last three games, so he'll head to the bench for a night off. Ryan Flaherty will pick up a start at shortstop in his stead.
Hardy went 2-for-4 with a double and one RBI in Thursday's road victory over the Reds. The shortstop has an affection for playing on the road early in the 2017 season. Hardy is slashing .323/.323/.516 through eight away games, compared to a .125/.176/.125 line at Camden Yards. He's boosted his average 81 points over the last seven games by going 10-for-28 (.357) with three doubles and a home run.
Hardy went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles, an RBI and two runs Sunday in Toronto. The Orioles unloaded 15 hits in an 11-4 win over the struggling Jays, and Hardy didn't miss out on the action en route to raising his batting average 57 points. Entering the contest, the shortstop had just one extra-base hit (a home run) before driving a ground rule double to center field in the fifth inning and another to left field just one frame later. Hardy is now slashing .257/.278/.400, and his plate discipline (21.6 percent strikeout rate) through 37 plate appearances is an eyesore.
Hardy is not in the Orioles' starting lineup Saturday. Ryan Flaherty will take over at shortstop, giving Hardy his first day off this season. It's been a rough start out of the gate for the 34-year-old, who is slashing .200/.226/.300 with eight strikeouts. Regardless, Hardy should continue seeing regular opportunities to improve.
Hardy went 0-for-3 in Tuesday's affair with the Red Sox and is now hitting .105 (2-for-19) through his first six games of 2017. Just a game removed from notching his first RBI and walk of the campaign, the O's shortstop went right back to looking awful at the plate. Hardy has been batting ninth in the order for all but one game, and despite staying strikeout-free for the first time all season Tuesday, the veteran owns an ugly 33.3 percent strikeout rate.
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