Sunday, May 14, 2006

Adrian Beltre Stuggles with the 'Heebie Jeebies'

The good news for Seattle 3B Adrian Beltre is that he already has had a year in which he batted .334 with 48 homers and he's only 27. The bad news is that he's half way through May and after going 0-6 in his most recent outing, his BA has fallen to .206 with only two homers. Beltre looks like a man with the case of the 'heebie jeebies.' To say he looks uncomfortable at the plate doesn't begin to describe it. Beltre swings too soon on off-speed pitches and too late on fastballs. Waiting for the ball it's as if he's trying to shrug himself out of his own clothes, as if swarm of bees just flew under his shirt. Beltre is like a weekend hacker who just came into the tee box after his golf lesson, trying to tell himself: all right remember, left foot here, right foot there, head down, etc., etc. The scariest thing is that Beltre not only looks distracted at the plate, he even looks uncomfortable coming and going to the parking lot before and after games. Ironically, while struggling teammates such as Richie Sexson and Jeremy Reed have been taking full advantage of the clubhouse video library to study their swings and correct their problems, Beltre seems to be taking his own path to recovery, calling his work habits into question. Worse, Beltre's offensive performance is so bad that he's been dropped to the No. 7 hole in the batting order, meaning he will see even fewer pitches to hit with no one behind him to protect him.