Thursday, July 02, 2009

Jason Bay Back to Fenway May Help Keep Slump at Bay

Jason Bay had a rough road trip in Baltimore, Atlanta and Washington. Stupid road trip with a bunch of young pitchers you've hardly seen in your career.

The low light was the 5 Ks in yesterday's come from behind win at Camden Yards, and went 0 for 15 in that Baltimore series, and 6 for 36 overall. It's pretty yucky, but given his talent, I doubt this slump lingers. He says his timing is off (as told to the Herald):

“I’m completely getting myself out now. Timing-wise, I’m kind of in between - I can’t hit the fastball, can’t hit the breaking ball. It’s just one of those situations where everything that could go wrong is going wrong. But we’re winning games, too, so it at least helps deflect it a little bit."

Seeing Bay in a slump isn't something we're used to watching, but going back to Fenway against Seattle can't hurt a guy who, up until now, has been doing really well in the American League.

The only legitimate gripe I can see is that he strikes out a whole lot--to the tune of 76 Ks for the year. Comparatively, however, Bay's K rate ranks him in the number 12 spot in baseball, with a lot of major power hitters ahead of him. Carlos Pena comes to mind, and he's ranked third in baseball with 101Ks for the year so far.

The strikeouts are not a huge deal.

While his average at Fenway is only .254, Bay takes his walks there, and so his OBP is .372 with an OPS of .904. Bay has 7 home runs and 35 RBIs at home. Against the Mariners, Bay has a career .724 slugging percentage and 1.136 OPS.

Good numbers.

The travel day today and the mood of the clubhouse after yesterday's comeback win--or as Eric calls the 'character win'--has me thinking good things for Bay at Fenway before the All-Star Break.

Now is not the time to get down on a key offensive talent that the Red Sox want to sign for the long haul (and may try over the All Star break), and who wants to become a U.S. citizen.

Remember, this is a guy who is third in RBIs (69) in all of baseball behind Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. He's also tied for third in the AL in homers (19).