Has Polanco Lost Bat Speed?

Charlie Manuel continues to tinker, searching for a way to score a few more runs a little more consistently.

He settled on his 10th different lineup in 12 games for tonight’s series finale against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. He put Juan Pierre in the leadoff spot for the fifth time this season, which landed John Mayberry Jr. a spot on the bench. He also started Ty Wigginton at third base, putting Placido Polanco on the bench.

Polanco is really struggling. He is hitting .179 (7-for-39) with one double and one RBI. He is not hitting balls hard and he has six strikeouts, giving him one strikeout every 6.83 plate appearances. That statistic is noteworthy because Polanco struck out just once every 11.89 plate appearances last season, which was the third-best mark in baseball. In his career, Polanco has struck out just once every 14.72 plate appearances.

That is a big reason why Manuel likes Polanco in the No. 2 spot. He makes contact.

But right now he’s doing less of that and not hitting balls hard.

Could that be a result of lost bad speed?

“You know what I think it is?” Manuel said. “I think Polly has been hitting in a weak hitting position. His timing is off. He’s been getting on his front side too quick. He drove the ball to center field real good (in his last at-bat Tuesday). He showed some quickness the last couple nights. I talked to him a couple days ago. I talked to him about keeping more weight on his backside.

“Sometimes when you get into a bad habit, sometimes it’s hard to break. You really don’t realize what you’re doing. It takes you a while. I think he’s still got some bat speed. He needs to get consistent, of course. He always has been in his career.”

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4 Comments

I don’t know about Polanco, but Jime Thome should just retire. Charlie embarrassed him by letting him bat against a tough lefty at the most critical point of the game. Cliff Lee deserved better.

totally agreed….there was no certainty that a RH batter would have fared better because Lopez is quite effective anyway; but Thome had definitely no chances, it was a K waiting to happen…..and another ballgame to lose

Put a fork in him; he’s finished. Watching him at bat is an insult to the million$ he is being paid. The problem is that there is little hope for improvement from him because he swings so weakly which shows either an underlying injury or more likely a deteriorated human being no longer suitable for pro baseball play.

3rd base along with left field are the weakest points for this team and it is doubtful that a playoff position can be reached without a larger struggle than at any time since 2006 despite their superior pitching.

Change at 3rd base is most important since that position, with Polly in charge, has contributed nothing at all to the offense. Hope Wiggy can provide help but longer range a move must be made. Left field MIGHT be answered by Brown getting his hitting back and become better on defense so as to be called up mid-season…or before.

Polly will be OK.

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