When too much is a good thing
Adrian Beltre smoked his first home run of June in the 4th inning last night.
“I’ve been taking too many pitches,” so he says (Hickey, P-I).
Mr. Beltre makes an excellent case in that one must swing the bat to put it over the fence. But then, to a fellow with a career .329 on-base percentage (and presently .301 on the year), I might recommend taking a couple of more.
Beltre is finishing up his best month as a Mariner thus far. Somebody give him a cookie.
April – .258/.284/.361
May – .216/.245/.353
June – .312/.386/.442
The difference? 9 walks in June compared to 3 in each April and May. Here’s a breakdown comparing his strikeouts-per-at-bat and walks-per-at-bat month by month in 2005, along with his career totals and his career 2004 season…
AB/K AB/BB K/BB June 2005 7.0 8.5 1.2 May 2005 5.7 34.0 6.0 April 2005 5.7 32.3 5.7 Season 2004 6.8 11.3 1.6 Career 5.8 12.4 2.1
Somewhere along the drive up I-5 from Chavez Ravine, Adrian Beltre forgot how to take a pitch. Those April and May walk rates are well out of the ordinary for Beltre. There’s nothing unusual about his strikeout rates. He actually struck out more often last season.
Adrian Beltre won’t hit it over the fence if he doesn’t swing; but no one hits the pitch foot-low-and-away pitch over the fence. As a team, the Mariners draw a base on balls once every 12.4 at bats (the Yankees 8.3; the Tigers 13.7). Hearing anyone in this Mariners’ clubhouse confess to not swinging enough makes me stop in my tracks.
The ghost of Ken Phelps doesn’t haunt here anymore.