Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer haven't hit for power this year. You've noticed? Entering Tuesday's game against Tampa, the corner infielders combined for eight extra base hits in 161 plate appearances. All of those extra base hits have been doubles.
Until the sixth inning. Moustakas climbed all over a 1-0 change-up and dropped it into the Tampa bullpen. It was just his second home run in 243 plate appearances, dating back to August 18 of last season. Adding a sacrifice fly, Moose also upped his run batted in total to five on the season. Before Tuesday, he had brought home just two out of 55 runners. No player in the AL has had as many plate appearances and brought home a lower percentage of runners.
The sac fly came on a 3-0 pitch. It was the first time in nine plate appearances where he swung at a 3-0 pitch. He had four swings in 43 3-0 counts last year. An aggressive bit of hitting that I endorse given the situation in the game and the fact he actually homered in his previous at bat.
Moustakas also had a nice plate appearance in the second inning. Alex Cobb had him in an 0-2 hole with a pair of off speed pitches. He threw a change-up low and out of the zone, but Moose put a nice, easy swing on the pitch and hit a soft liner to center. Yes, he chased, but given the count, he had to protect the zone. He didn't try to do to much... Just put the bat on the ball. And he singled. That was the 13th time this year, Moose has fallen behind 0-2 and it was his first hit after dropping to that count.
I'm not close to the dirt, but to my eye it looks like Moustakas is finding comfort at the plate and has leveled his swing. I'm not going all Hochevar here and saying he's turned the corner. But I'm thinking he's about to have a very good next couple of weeks.
While Moustakas got off the homer schneid, Hosmer is still looking for bomb number one. However, he did hit an opposite field double to ignite the sixth inning rally. It seemed like every time Hosmer showed a little opposite field extra base pop last year, we collectively thought he was on the cusp of a hot streak. Oh, an opposite field double! That's a great sign when he's showing power the opposite way! Last summer, that streak never materialized.
So he did it again last night, and you might be excused for thinking the same thing. One thing that got me thinking; it seems that every Hosmer at bat of late has him going to the left side. Fly outs, singles even ground outs have been hit the opposite way. At least that's the way it seems.
So I went to Texas Leaguers and pulled his spray charts. The first chart is for his entire season.
We've seen this before. It's just an odd spray chart for someone who is supposed to hit for power. The hits he pulled are liners and flares out of the reach of the infield. If he pulls a ball on the ground, we know what happens... a harmless three-hopper to second. There's really zero power to his pull field. Anyway, his spray chart from the last week shows he's still going oppo.
Is it crazy to be worried that he's still not pulling the ball? I realize we're dealing with small samples here, but most of his plate appearances are ending as ground outs. Still. Like 25 percent. That's above his average for the entire month, which sets at 22 percent. So it doesn't seem like it's improving. Yes, it's nice that his walk rate is around 10 percent and he's finding a way to get on base. I'm just not seeing the signs of him emerging from his power outage.