Yeah we all know what happened last night, and it still stings, and will (until eight o'clock rolls around) but hey let's move on to something that doesn't involve cursing why don't we? How about streaking hitters instead?
We sit here midday of the date in which the 10th game of the season will be played, and something special is on the verge of happening. Yes Scott Kazmir and Johan Santana will face off tonight for the genesis of hopefully many great match-ups between the Rays and the Twins, but even something more special for the Rays and their fan base.
Delmon Young and Akinori Iwamura are both on the verge of not only reaching base safely in every game this year, but doing so by getting a hit, in other words, dual nine game hitting streaks. It has always been apparent that Delmon Young would have a lot of contact, however not until last September did we see how it would translate into the Major Leagues. A month of .317 and 76% contact rates led us to believe he could hit for a good average in spite of his un-gargantuan walk totals, one in 126 at bats to be precise.
It wasn't what we saw with Akinori, it was what we didn't see, the majority of his game film. Sure his homerun reel on YouTube was endearing, and so far we've seen that his obsession with reptiles, including the webbing on his mitt, is made of gold, but the most impressive thing is he's yet to have looked overmatched since Spring Training. What made the difference? Adjustments.
Perhaps the textbook example of such, he tweaked his batting stance and since has set the west in flames. Same goes for Delmon, the notorious first pitch hacker and has morphed into a slightly more selective ripper who hasn't been afraid to match his walk total from last year of one, this time through 90 less at bats.
Aki leads the league with a .433 batting average, but perhaps more encouraging, even than his 85% contact, is the .553 on-base percentage, and his eight walks to four strikeouts. Delmon has a .361 batting average, .368 on-base percentage, and eight runs batted in, which is tied with Ty Wigginton for the team lead. Collectively the Rays have three with an OPS over 1.000; Iwamura (1.120), Wigginton (1.051), and B.J. Upton (1.044) as well as Young's OPS of .950, factor in the team leading the league in homeruns, as well as having a homerun in each game, and really it's a streak-filled world.
Really the Rays' lineup as a whole has been adjustment based, becoming more patient, scoring runs late against tough relievers, and chasing starters before the midway point are becoming patents for the team that for the most part is still learning on the fly, but then again isn't that what adjustments are all about?