I've now had the pleasure of seeing the dialed-in version of Sweeney since late July of 2009...it did not dawn on him that part of the reason he was so dialed in was that he was getting lower to the ball and not having to take a static arm swing anymore. I noticed last night that he was hitting totally relaxed...taking balls and swinging ferociously at strikes...despite the lack of walks in his career, he's got a good eye...don't let him fool you into thinking otherwise. He also battled like a pro in his 2 ABs...made Cook throw some pitches. The Mariners have lots of guys now that will battle a starter and drive him absolutely bananas throwing 6-7-8 pitch at bats.
=== Rose-San ===
The last three-four days, each announcer has stepped up to the mike, never hitting out of batting order, and reminded us how little the players want to be at the games right now. Can't wait for the reg season, y unnerstan.
So when your #2 starter gets a line drive through the chest against low-minors hitters, just remember he didn't wanna be there...
Ichiro stepped up against Aaron Cook with the kind of glare that reminds us all that he'd far rather have a katana in his hand than a bat. Making do with sissy weapons provided, he grimly roped a hit that the right fielder caught on one hop...
The Rox announcer asked what Ichiro was doing at the park at 8 am, or on his day off, or something. Blowers says, Ichiro's always at the park for exercise on off days. Every single day. Second nature to him.
Earlier this year, Ichiro was asked if the M's should trade him for five young players. "Their movements would not be as youthful as mine," he said. Give you 3:1 he was not smiling when he said it.
Over/under is 43 for Ichiro. Age at last good year, as in. Not joking. Turning 36, Ichiro is just getting loose.
Enjoy the show. Hope against hope that you get to see his murderous glare leading off a playoff game.
=== Chone ===
Ichiro-like leveraging to his swing as he hit a line-drive RF home run that would have been way back at Safeco. Same leveraged swing on a rope to right-center next time up.
Hey, funny thing about this guy. He battles the pitcher for dear life. Bet you never heard that.
Somebody mentioned that he started ST 0-for-11 -- and had an OBP over .400. Speed doesn't slump? Maybe not, but fo sho, walks have zero respect for Safeco Field's game.
=== Kotchman ===
Two out-and-over pitches whacked for singles... whoops, Ryan Miller picked one off, stick side, just before da biscuit went into da basket. 1 unassisted.*
Another down-and-in pitch two-bounced, this one for the 1-in-20 chance at a double down the RF line.
Dr. D, as you know, is a gentle giant at heart, but every time we watch this guy get his favorite pitch and one-base it, he wants to put his receding hairline through the computer monitor.
Pretty defense and one-baggers from your first sacker ... this amigo's game would have been fine, say, a hundred and twenty years ago. But Hal Chase didn't help his teams win even then, dudes.
Jack Zduriencik was just on the radio Mar. 31 and raving about Casey's 2010. You going to take him or me? So, it's gotta be good. :sigh:
=== Mike Sweeney ===
His triple a day or two ago... Sweeney lowered his CG to about eight inches off the ground, lowered his grill to about twelve inches off the ground, and two-hand volleyed a seed for three bases.
Tonight, first pitch he swung at, again the CG and grill meet the pitch like Jevon Kearse meeting Julius Jones in the backfield. SMMMMMOOKINNNNN' line drive for another base hit.
This man is dialed in. Watch him hit, can'cha. You can visibly watch him track the ball out of the pitcher's hand to its inevitable demise.
It's impossible to get him out. Forget the .500+ average and watch the guy swing the bat. It's unreal.
Very true that before his 2009 2H, he OPS+'ed about 95-100 for 600-700 at bats in a row.
As you know, his back has kept him from moving his CG and face to the ball a lot of the time. It is no guarantee that DH'ing will bring him back to 110-120 OPS+, but it is quite possible.
If you're waving off Sweeney's March rampage, following his July-September rampage, you're waving off an upside scenario that Jack Zduriencik takes quite seriously.
Zduriencik, on the KIRO Mar. 31 show, asserted that clubhouse chemistry "is an essential part of a championship ballclub" and that Sweeney and Griffey provide this.
2008 seems a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....