Manager Lloyd McClendon must have crunched some numbers prior to the Seattle Mariners‘ May 27 game vs. the Los Angeles Angels and Jered Weaver. In an effort to perhaps remove his second baseman Robinson Cano from a current power slump, McClendon inserted him into the lineup as the designated hitter.
Cano has only two long balls in 2014, and both of them came when he played the role of DH. The psychology for an individual behind the game of baseball plays a large part in a player’s successes and failures. Cano has been anything but a failure for the Mariners so far this year, but before tonight, he started three games as the Mariners’ DH where he slashed .308/.308/.846.
The key number there is the last one. The .846 slugging percentage is in stark contrast to his slugging percentage of .399 in his 47 starts at second base. The fact that both of his home runs so far have only come as a DH is further puzzling.
McClendon also may have done his research and noticed that Cano has had favorable results against Weaver in his career. Heading into yesterday’s action, Cano had registered 35 plate appearances against the Angels’ right-hander, posting a .371 lifetime average. None of that seemed to matter though, as Cano went 2-for-5 with two groundouts, and never once flirted with the warning track or hitting a home run.
Statistically and historically, McClendon played the odds properly thinking Cano may be able to drive a ball into the stands, but instead the home run drought continues. A hit from Cano last left the ballpark on May 21, and before that on Apr. 17. He is miles off the pace from his average of 23 home runs per season.