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Whit Merrifield to lead off, Escobar bumped to eighth

But what about Esky Magic?

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Whit Merrifield has been moved up to the leadoff spot for Monday’s game against the Astros, with Alcides Escobar moved down to #8. Merrifield has been on fire, with a MLB-best 19-game hitting streak. Over the last two weeks, he has the best OPS in baseball at 1.225. For the year, he is hitting .307/.360/.496 with six home runs.

Alcides Escobar has taken his offensive performance to new lows this year, hitting just .179/.204/.226. The lineup initially responded to his promotion to the leadoff spot, but have cooled off and are 14-11 this year when he leads off, averaging 4.48 runs per game. The Royals are 145-109 with Escobar leading off since 2014, although just 53-54 since 2015.

The Royals have majorly struggled with the leadoff spot all year, first with Alex Gordon, then Escobar. Kansas City Star reporter Jesse Newell tweeted that the Royals have gotten the worst production from the leadoff spot over the last five decades.

Whit has led off in 34 games before, including ten times this year, and has hit .252/.288/.367 from that spot. The Royals were 15-19 in those games.