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Scioscia gives lineup several twists against lefty

Special to MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- The Angels' Saturday lineup for Mets left-hander Jon Niese had an upside-down look.

Leadoff hitter Kole Calhoun, a left-handed hitter, was in the No. 9 spot. Howie Kendrick, who's batted sixth (five games) and seventh (four games) this season, was elevated to the No. 4 spot, with lefty Raul Ibanez dropping to seventh.

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ANAHEIM -- The Angels' Saturday lineup for Mets left-hander Jon Niese had an upside-down look.

Leadoff hitter Kole Calhoun, a left-handed hitter, was in the No. 9 spot. Howie Kendrick, who's batted sixth (five games) and seventh (four games) this season, was elevated to the No. 4 spot, with lefty Raul Ibanez dropping to seventh.

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In 903 Major League starts, Kendrick has batted fourth just 12 times. And it's not like he's way better against lefties; Kendrick is hitting .292 in his career against right-handed pitchers, and .293 against left-handers. 

Erick Aybar, the usual No. 9 hitter, was moved up to sixth. Collin Cowgill, who's now platooning with recently recalled J.B. Shuck in left, led off for the third time. The Angels have a 2-0 mark with Cowgill opening; the first two instances were days off for Calhoun.

Without left fielder Josh Hamilton for six to eight weeks, "we're going to mix and match a little," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We think we'll still be able to keep the length in the lineup that we want."

But Calhoun won't always drop against left-handers.

"I think Cole would certainly lead off against left-handers," Scioscia said. "What we're trying to do today is get the righties to the top."

As for Aybar, the switch-hitter has always had more power batting right-handed. Scioscia says he's "one guy we'd consider leading off, especially against left-handers."

Don't expect the Angels manager to go the full Joe Maddon route, but Scioscia's lineups sans Hamilton figure to have considerable variance.

Earl Bloom is a contributor to MLB.com.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Erick Aybar, Kole Calhoun, Collin Cowgill, Raul Ibanez, Howie Kendrick, J.B. Shuck