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July 3, 2011

Markakis heats up ... with Guerrero's bats

Orioles designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero hasn’t been very productive lately, but his bats are working wonders for Nick Markakis.

The Orioles right fielder started using Guerrero’s bats, which are heavier than the ones Markakis usually uses, about three weeks ago, and that has coincided with the one of the better stretches of his career.

Markakis went a career-best 5-for-5 with an RBI double today, and he was 8-for-10 with a homer, double and two RBIs in the final two games of the series. That two-game stretch came after Markakis went 0-for-4 in Friday’s series-opening loss to Atlanta, ending his career-best 19-game hitting streak.

“I feel a lot better than I did, there’s no question about it,” said Markakis, who has raised his average from .236 on June 7 to .296. “It’s just a comfort thing, getting in a comfortable position up there and not missing the pitch when you get it.”

Markakis, who said he started using Guerrero’s bats to try to add a little more pop to his swing, is 44-for-101 (.436) in his past 21 games.

His five hits today were part of a terrific all-around game for the veteran outfielder. He made a key defensive play in the seventh inning, fielding a ball cleanly off the top of the wall and throwing out Brian McCann trying to stretch a single into a double. He also stole a base in the ninth, giving him seven for the season, the same total he had last year.

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 7:52 PM | | Comments (8)
        

Comments

Nick has been great as of late. I never thought he was going to be a 30 HR guy like a lot of people, but I did think he would hit around 20 HRs a year, but to me, it's the doubles that makes him a great hitter. I was concerned with his doubles production till recently, but he seems back on track in a big way.

Even after last year I was hoping the O's would trade Luke. I having nothing against Luke, as he has the right to say what he wants. I just hate his streakiness. I know he puts up around the same numbers at the end, but he kills the team when he is doing poorly and it's not like it's a few weeks, as he can go months at a time looking lost at the plate.

Like everyone else, I am not pleased with all the moves AM has made, but the Hardy and Reynolds trades were excellent. Mark is working the count more than ever. I think his defense will improve, but his bat seems like it is ready to crank out a 40 HR season. JJ has done everything well from fielding to hitting to solidifying the leadoff spot.

Jeff,

Will the O's trade Lee? I just can't see getting anything of value for him. I know he is great with glove, but the 12 or 13 DPs is out of hand plus his #s are terrible. I don't think Luke is going anywhere, so the only way to see more of Reimold in LF will be if Luke takes over at 1B with Nolan in LF. I also would like to see Felix get more AB's too. Jeff, I just feel that Lee is hurting the team more than he is helping them. When you play Vlad, Luke and Lee, you have three guys that clog up the bases and are prone to DPs.

whatever it takes....

Maybe Vlad can borrow one of Markakis' bats and he'll start hitting.

Thank goodness Nick is back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is seemed likely that his production would improve with the same bats. I looked at some numbers on June 17 and found the following. His line drive percentage was a career best 22%, better than MLB average, and better than his lifetime 18.8%. His strikeout percentage was a career best 11.4%, better than his lifetime 15.9%. His BABIP was .264, worse than his lifetime .323. His Home Run to Fly Ball ratio was, however, 6.6%, same as last year, but representing a declining trend--it was in double figures his first 3 years and is 9.6% lifetime. It seemed that his production would improve, but his home runs are likely to remain lower.

I always laugh at people saying Nick has to hit a ton of homers. He reminds me of a great Baltimore native who gained his notoriety in Detroit - Al Kaline. He can hit; he can field; he can run; he can throw. Maybe he won't win the HR crown, but he will consistently be around 20 dingers, 20-30 doubles, .300 average, and drive in 80 -90 runs evry year - hopefully, for 20!

Jeff,

Markakis has morphed into Rod Carew. When I blink, I see Carew in Markakis uniform, slapping singles and an occasional extra base hit, all over the ballpark. The stance has become remarkably similar {go look at some old footage of Carew} even to the point of a slight choke up. Nick has adjusted to the type of hitter he really is...Little power but high average. He recognizes it, we should accept it

As far as Reynolds is concerned, I still say his defense just can't be tolerated on a club running so close to the margins. Maybe they can trade him while he is in a hot streak, and before he goes back into another strikeout, throw the ball away funk. Pitching and defense wins games, not 30+ home runs and 40 errors from your third baseman.

As I said yesterday, Reimold should play left field for the rest of the year. Pie is a waste of a roster spot and between he and Scott, the Orioles are getting nothing out of left field offensively. Scott's glove and limited range has already cost the team some games this year.

...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: Good post.

Maybe Vlad should go to a lighter bat. Why hasn't the hitting coach done that? No excuses, hitting coaches need to be less lazy.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.


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