Striking out: Three star hitters off to poor starts

Apr 10, 2013 |
After looking at three starting pitchers who are struggling at the beginning of the season,we highlight three star position players who are struggling at the plate and how their teams are doing without the production.

B.J. Upton, Atlanta Braves

While little brother Justin is tied for the most home runs in baseball with six, big brother B.J. Upton has struggled since arriving from Tampa Bay.

In 29 at-bats, B.J. has just three hits, with only one being an extra base hit, for a .103 average. All three hits have come in the three games since moving up to the top of the lineup.

Andrelton Simmons returned to the lineup on Monday after missing two games with a thumb injury. But B.J. Upton stayed at the top of the batting order. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said that with first baseman Freddie Freeman injured, he decided to leave Upton in the leadoff spot, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

In the four games with Upton batting first, the Braves are 4-0 and the under is 3-1.

Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers added a lot of big names in the offseason, but it's most established star has struggled. Matt Kemp has only three hits in 25 at-bats with no home runs, for a .120 BA.

"I've probably hit into a double play damn near every game," Kemp told to the Los Angeles Times after Tuesday's 9-3 loss to the Padres in which he went 1-for-5.

"It's just frustrating because I know I've missed some pitches that I normally hit," Kemp continued, "I've got to think about hitting the ball to right-center, not trying to pull that ball, letting that ball get deep, trusting my hands. That's it. We'll be good. I'll be dangerous.

The Dodgers are 4-3 without production from Kemp early this season. The under is 4-3 in Dodgers games this year.

Josh Hamilton, Los Angeles Angels

Angels owner Arte Moreno was hoping for a bigger bang for his buck when he signed Josh Hamilton to a five-year, $125 million contract in the offseason.

Hamilton is struggling in his first days with the Halos. He had only one hit in his first five games with Los Angeles, before getting three hits against his former team, Texas, Sunday. He has only four hits in 29 at-bats through seven games for a .138 BA with no home runs.

"We're only five games into the season. Let the guy settle down," teammate Albert Pujols said on Saturday, who struggled at the beginning of last season. "Let's see where we are a month from now. You guys said that last year about me and I proved a lot of people wrong."

The Angels are 2-5 in 2013. Despite Hamilton's struggles, the over is 5-2 in Angels games.

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