Why oh why do you constantly swing at the first pitch BJ? It is a trend that has been eating away at my soul.
Whether an inning when we need to get something going or one where people are already on base, his approach stays the same….swing at the first pitch. In the first inning and the last, his approach stays the same…swing at the first pitch. Its seems like he does it every game, but in game 2 vs the Texas Rangers he did it with one out and two on base…killed a surefire big inning….a bunt would’ve been better. Tonight vs the Blue Jays he did it to lead off the 6<sup>th</sup> inning. And it seems he does it every night. I cant remember the last time I saw it work for him.
Typically coaches encourage their players to see some pitches. Taking a few pitches yields two major benefits. First, the batter sees more pitches and should be able to read the pitches more effectively. Second, it tires the opposing pitcher by increasing their pitch count and gets into their bullpen…usually a good thing. Isnt this something Joe should be talking about with his center fielder?
So why hasn’t the conversation happened. Some players are good at swinging at the first pitch. I remember Delmon Young in his only year with the Rays seemed to get great results from attacking the first pitch he saw. Come to think of it, he won a game in the last inning swinging on the first pitch. Not so much for BJ….
The weird part about all of this is that when BJ first joined the Rays, he was one of the most disciplined hitters I’d ever seen. He’d only swing at strikes. I remember watching get down in counts 0-2, and work his way back to a full count. The guy had impeccable vision, and very rarely did you ever see him make a bad swing at something out of the zone. Fast forward one year and he looks totally lost. He has watched several called third strikes without moving his bat. He consistently swings at poor pitches. Its as if he isn’t seeing the ball as well as he used to.
Im not sure what is going on, but if he can get it figured out, he will be one of the top outfielders in the game. His defense has consistently gotten better, and nobody else in the majors has the range that he possesses in center field.
Brian McCann, the catcher in Atlanta has been on a tear since he received corrective lenses. Is it time for BJ to go to the doctor?