Focus On: Speed
And that’s how it’s done.
Or…that’s how it’s SUPPOSED to be done.
So far this season the Hawks have been about as clutch as Armando Benitez.
But, like everything else in baseball, that trend can always be broken. After a 5-4 win over the Eugene Emeralds on Monday, the first step has been taken.
The second step doesn’t get any easier.
“I think (the attitudes have changed),” Manager Casey Kopitzke said. “We were down 4-0 and there was no doubt. They looked like they know they can do it. And they put the ball in play and succeeded.”
I think it may be an understanding of roles that is a big part of the reason of recent success.
The Hawks have a lineup of leadoff hitters, and used Hak-Ju Lee first on Monday, with Logan Watkins batting second, and the fastest on the team, Jose Valdez batting ninth.
Add the speed of Brett Jackson and Jae-Hoon Ha to the middle, and the lineup becames formidable for short bursts.
“The thing about us is,” Koptizke said, “we’re not going to knock the ball out. We have a lot of speed, and we want to use that to put pressure on them, and make them commit errors.”
That was the strategy from the beginning, but one big thing has changed.
There’s a threat in the three spot named Brett Jackson, and he came through with a triple that won the game on Monday.
Kopitzke’s attitude of looking at the season series by series should work in his favor. To the scorebook, the Hawks have a record of 5-12, and an uphill battle to .500.
But in this series, they’re 2-1, with two games to go.
If they look at overall at-bats, the team may notice the general struggle near the Mendoza line, but concentrating on each game’s set of at-bats shows more success than strict numbers can show.
The Hawks won’t get anywhere by looking at where they are right now, because they do have a large cliff ahead of them.
But, if they use the roles they seem to be settling into, they could find themselves not looking down, but finding themselves scaling the difficult climb anyway.