|Some Rather Untimely Hitting|
|AL or Nothing|
|Written by Jason Mastrodonato|
|Wednesday, 04 May 2011 01:21|
When the Red Sox were 0-6 they all told us not to worry. Even when they had won just twice through their first 12 games, the manager and players insisted they would come around.
It was a slump every team goes through, and they happen multiple times throughout the season. We knew we should ignore it, but we couldn’t. The numbers were too bold; the ERAs too high and the batting averages too low.
But they came around. As it always seems to happen in baseball, the game made its full rotation and has started to sit upright again. A team so full of talent couldn’t continue to struggle with runners in scoring position, seemingly leaving men on base every inning, and saving their worst at-bats for the most important moments.
When the Red Sox couldn’t get timely base hits for the first few weeks, Adrian Gonzalez told us what the rest of the team reiterated: Relax, they will come.
“When they start to fall and we keep getting more and more hits, it’ll get to a point where we’re going to be hitting .500 for a period of time, getting in scoring position and scoring runs,” the first baseman noted mid-April.
Well, that time is just about here. Gonzalez led the NL with a .407 batting average with runners in scoring position last year, and he’s starting to make his mark in the AL doing the same thing.
The lefty entered Tuesday’s game hitting .364 and 15 RBIs with RISP, and then added a two-out single up the middle to score Jacoby Ellsbury from second and tie the game in the sixth inning. The first baseman’s hit seemed to open the gates for Boston, as the Sox put up seven runs in the final three innings.
It’s funny how everyone can tell us slumping players will turn it around, but we won’t believe it. As long as there have been slumps, there have been players to never get out of them. They’re few and far between those who do, but we don’t want to get duped on that one again.
Hitting with runners in scoring position is such an interesting thing. Some players have managed to sustain a high average with RISP over their career, but for the most part it seems to be something that’s just a matter of luck and timing. Can players really turn it up every time a teammate is standing on second base? I don’t think so, but far more advanced studies have been done on clutch hitting, and I’d direct your attention there.
But Gonzalez and the Red Sox can teach us a valuable lesson, especially when you’re wondering why Jayson Werth has just seven RBIs this season (he’s hitting .190 with RISP).
Hitting with runners in scoring position tends to come and go. It’s easy to start discounting some guys who just aren’t driving in runs right now, but it’ll happen. Just give it time.
With that, here are a few players who have been a victim of some untimely hitting, and whose numbers should pick up once they sort that out.