Bat control has long been one of the manager's key traits of a two-hitter.What may have also played a role in Gardenhire’s decision to use Hardy as the two-hitter is how similar the two middle infielders have handled the bat this year. Taking a look at their plate discipline, you can see that both have below average chase rates and above average contact rates:
Hardy v Hudson in 2010:
Naturally, Hudson’s overall totals have been much better thanks to batted ball numbers. His 24 percent line drive rate has led to a .339 BABIP while Hardy’s propensity for hitting grounders has driven down his totals thanks to a .143 BABIP on those wormburners. Likewise, Hudson has drawn walks in 9 percent of his plate appearances while Hardy has done so in just 6 percent, resulting in a greater deviation in their on-base percentages.
To be sure, Hudson should return to lineup in a matter of a few days and all offensive order should be restored and the discussion over the two-hitter strategy will be moot. The takeaway from this is that Hardy hasn’t been all that different from Hudson when you break it down to the brass tax. Both are marginal when it comes to drawing walks and Hudson has accelerated thanks to a very good line drive rate. If Hardy continues to exercise the same plate discipline has he has in the first two months of the season, we could witness solid production as the season continues along, regardless of where he hits in the order.