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Carl Crawford Is the Free Swinger

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Simply put, Carl Crawford has been a black hole in the Rays lineup thus far. What was supposed to be a bounce back year for Crawford has been anything but so far this season. I know that it's a stretch of only 14 games, and bad stretches happen during a season. If he was having this type of stretch in the middle of the season after a hot start there wouldn't be such a fuss made over it. With that being said...Carl, stop with the Mario Mendoza impersonation already.

The biggest gripe most Rays fans have had with Crawford over the years is his lack of patience at the plate. So far this season his trigger finger has been itchier than ever. Crawford has a first pitch strike percentage of 75.4 this season, which is well over his career average of 64.5%. That's an amazingly high number, even for him. Carl is also swinging at more pitches out of the strike zone than he normally does, as evidenced by his O-Swing%%(percent of balls he swings at outside the zone) being 33.7 this season while his career percentage is 29.5. Not taking pitches, and swinging at pitches outside of the zone, has led to a drastic uptick in his K%(25.9 this season, 15.1 career) and obviously lowered his BB%(1.7, 4.9).

No one is expecting Crawford to imitate B.J. Upton or Pat Burrell when it comes to patience at the plate, but this struggling offense needs him on the base paths to be successful. In last night's game Crawford saw six pitches total in his first three at bats, and that's unacceptable. He's seeing 3.84 pitches per PA, second least amongst regulars, and that's not exactly helping to raise his .246OBP. Also, with the speed this team has, and the aggressiveness in which they run the bases, it's frustrating watching Crawford hack at the first two pitches and not give the runner on first so much as a chance to steal. I fear that Crawford is going to start pressing, if he hasn't already, and that's just going to make things worse. Maybe a temporary drop in the order to 6th or 7th where there's less pressure to perform is what Crawford needs to get his bat back on track. What do you think?