Mariners Insider

Smoak, Franklin provide big homers in 3-1 win

Post by Ryan Divish on July 7, 2013 at 7:15 pm with 4 Comments »
July 7, 2013 7:20 pm

Justin Smoak watched Bronson Arroyo throw him pitches that might not have broke a pane of glass, including one that struck him out looking in the first inning with a runner on second. The pitch registered 71 mph on the radar gun at the Great American ball

“That one looked liked it came out of the sky,” Smoak said.

Smoak was more than pleased to see something different in his second at-bat with a runner on first

Arroyo threw him an 87 mph sinking fastball away and Smoak jumped on it, going with the pitch and driving a two-run, opposite field homer over the wall in left field.

“I was just trying to get it in the air here,” he said. “I got a pitch out of over the plate and I pretty good swing on it to get it out of here.”

For Smoak, hitting a ball hard to the opposite field is a good sign that he’s seeing the ball and not trying to do too much with it. He can get a little pull-happy.

“The way he threw to me in the first at-bat – a lot of offspeed stuff – I was just trying to let the ball get to me and think up the middle and the other way,” he said. “I got a fastball on the outside corner and didn’t miss it.”

Since returning from the disabled list because of an oblique strain, Smoak is hitting .308 (16-for-52) with two doubles, four homers and seven RBI.

“I felt good the last couple weeks,” he said.  I feel great up there. I’m just not getting it done when it counts.”

And when it counts is with runners in scoring position. And Smoak hasn’t been good in that situation this season, hitting .130 (6-for-46). It’s why he has just 15 RBI on the season.

“It’s been dreadful,” he said. “I feel great at the plate, but I just haven’t got it done when it counts. If you keep squaring balls up, the homers are going to come, the doubles are going to come, but it’s about getting those guys across home plate.”

Smoak admits that sometimes the moment and the desire to produce with runners on overtakes him and his approach.

“The good ones don’t do that,” he said. “You see Raul (Ibanez) go up there, he’s so relaxed every pitch and he gets a good pitch to hit and tries not to miss it. I feel like I just get a little antsy sometimes. It’s part of it. I think I want it too much.”

Mariners manager Eric Wedge is still liking the progress he’s seen from his first baseman.

“To drive the ball the other way like that and he just missed two other hits tonight,” Wedge said. “He hit the ball hard two other times. He drove the ball right-handed a couple times, albeit foul, but he was still on it.”

A hobbled, hurting homer

Nick Franklin’s sore right knee isn’t 100 percent. But that didn’t keep him out of the Mariners line-up and producing on the field. Spurred on by some ribbing from his teammates about being knocked low by a bunt to his knee, Franklin declared himself ready to play on Sunday after doing some pregame work to get the swollen and stiff knee loosened up.

“That’s why you work hard and wait for the lineup to try to get him in there because something like that might happen,” Wedge said. “Sometimes it’s a good thing when the guys give you a hard time.”

Franklin set the tone by belting a solo home run to right field off of Arroyo in the first inning.

“I was just looking for a good pitch to hit,” he said. “Down two strikes, I was just trying to make contact and square it up the best I can.”

Franklin played the whole game. And while there was a slight limp in his gait, he still made every play in the field.

“It’s doing OK,” he said. “”It’s workable, and hopefully it will get better in the next few days. Honestly, I felt it the entire time.”

Mariners trainer Rick Griffin had Franklin doing exercises in between innings.

“That way I could still keep it loose,” Franklin said. “In between innings, I’d have a weight, just kind of stretching it out, so that it doesn’t tighten up.”

Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. Quinault says:

    Mariner analysis
    Record Winning percentage
    Quarter pole: 19-21 11-9 @ home .475
    Mid-way: 35-45 21-20 @ home .4375
    7/7 39-49 .44318

    ¾ 8/16

    We have to win at home and split on the road. Winning every other one will not get it done in this league. We have the pitching (2 All Stars), now we need the hitting. Despite our offensive woes, we can still catch the ball. I would love to see our team speed in action and figure out a way to manufacture runs as a means of putting the pressure on the other team and take it off of us. We have seen glimpses of it all season. I want to see it on a more regular basis.

    I think it may start with Franklin in the line up as well as Miller. Zunino may be as good as it gets. And if Smoak can hit from both sides of the plate, maybe down the stretch we will do some damage and have a lower draft pick next year.

  2. Palerydr says:

    So the M’s win 2 series on the road against 2 of the better teams in BB with the young call ups go figure….

    Ryan I could use your help, or anyone else, I really want to find a stat site that tells me how the M’s are doing in driving in runners from 3rd base with less than 2 outs. Hopefully for the team as well as individually. I think it’s one of the more important stats in BB. I predicted before the season they needed to be at a success rate of 70% or better. I also was hoping they could score more than 700 runs this year they will really have to pick up the pace for that to happen.

    Lastly I’m a big fan of Smoak and Saunders. I would love for Smoak to develop into as good a hitter as Keith Hernandez was. A guy who hits around .300 with avg power, plays GG caliber defense at 1B, but most importantly the ability to drive in runs. Obviously he needs the most work on the last part which I’m hoping he gets done before the end of the year. I’ve seen Nate’s rants about Smoaks OPS which is great however he really has to start driving in runs. Using his numbers since his return from the DL he would be on a pace to drive in about 70 RBI which is a good start. Saunders is a mystery to me he has shown he can get it done at the plate but not consistently. It seems every AB for the guy goes called strike 1, called strike 2. Maybe he should just start hacking at the first pitch I just don’t know.

  3. bbnate420 says:

    Palerydr, not sure they were rants. I just want to point out to the haters that he has been an above average player this year. He still has work to do to make the Lee trade look better. I have pointed out that his hitting with runners in scoring position has to improve. I think he needs to see a sports psychologist. The dude puts too much pressure on himself. It’s not good for hitting. I would be happy with him being a .800-.850 OPS guy while playing good defense. A .350-.400 OBP and approx. a .450 slugging. His defensive WAR stats aren’t good, which I don’t quite get. He certainly seems to be above average defensively to me.

    Also, you can get those stats right on the M’s website. Just go to the stats section. They have sortable player and team stats and all kinds of splits. The M’s are surprisingly a very good team with a runner on 3rd with less than 2 outs. They are 2nd in OPS at 1.025 and 7th in average. The problem is that they are 26th in ABs in that situation. That’s why they’re 21st in RBIs. Smoak, Ackley, Zunino, Saunders and Bay are the players struggling in that situation. Although none of them has more than 6 ABs in that situation.

    Lastly, a lack of aggression was a major problem for Saunders before 2012. He needs to refocus there. He does seem to have been more aggressive lately to me. The hand injury came at a bad time.

  4. Palerydr says:

    Thx Nate appreciate the info.

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