Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Yuniesky Betancourt showed us something last night
Yuniesky Betancourt did something that impressed me yesterday. No, not just the 4 hit game with the 3 run line drive homer last night against the ChiSox: An aggressive free swinger like Betancourt will have nights like that, especially against bad defenses like the ChiSox (seriously, 40 runs below average this season would not be a surprise) and pitchers having off nights like the one John Danks had.
No, late in the game with the Mariners rallying and DJ Carrasco on the mound, Yuniesky Betancourt took the first two pitches, both of which were clearly outside. Now, granted, the coaches could have signaled for him to take the first pitch, and both pitches were clear misses. But Yuni has always been a hitter who futilely swung at those outside pitches, with no sense of plate discipline whatsoever. And Carrasco wasn't exactly unable to throw strikes.
Instead of swinging himself into an easy out, Yuni laid off two outside pitches. That he swung at the next pitch in the zone is no surprise, because that's what he does after all. But behind 2-0, Carrasco was in a position where he had to pipe it in, and Yuni took advantage of Carrasco's disadvantage, a disadvantage Yuni helped create by laying off on at least one pitch he would have waved at. The old Yuni would have swung himself out of that at bat, and the Mariners out of a big rally, in 1-3 pitches.
Yuni was on the verge of getting run out of town for his lacking work ethic and development. I'm not saying he's fixed: It's one game, and he still popped up in a critical at bat in the front end of the doubleheader, a 2-1 hard luck loss. Also, I wasn't quite paying attention to his defense so if he had any gaffes or watched any playable balls go by, I didn't notice. But stuff like this, in tandem with a four hit night, gives encouragement to the notion that Yuniesky Betancourt isn't a lost cause just yet.