Vladimir Guerrero’s impatience at the plate was borderline maddening early in the season -- Detective John Kimble wasn’t the only one complaining about a lack of discipline -- but right now, it’s hard to take issue with Guerrero’s happy hacking in the batter’s box. The Orioles designated hitter is in a groove.
Guerrero went 2-for-5 and drove in the Orioles’ lone run in Wednesday night’s 4-1 loss to the Yankees. It was his fourth straight multi-hit game. Ten days ago, his batting average was .267. Now it’s a team-high .298. His power numbers are down -- four homers, 16 runs batted in and a .429 slugging percentage -- but with five doubles in the Orioles’ past four games, there is reason to believe more big hits are on the way.
As advertised, the 36-year-old slugger swings early and often. He is batting .309 when putting the ball in play in three or fewer pitches (and he has only struck out in three pitches twice). He is 4-for-26 (.154) on balls hit on the first pitch of an at-bat, 13-for-37 (.351) on the second and 13-for-36 (.361) on the third.
Guerrero might not wear down starters with epic at-bats, but at least he’s getting on base. Just to be safe, though, Orioles manager Buck Showalter should make the team's younger hitters wear blindfolds in the dugout during Vlad’s at-bats.
Can Guerrero keep it up? That’s the question. Last season, his numbers dipped in the second half and he batted .220 during the Rangers’ run to the World Series. Some national analysts questioned the Orioles’ decision to sign Guerrero, including ESPN’s Keith Law, who essentially said that he was washed up.
For now, while he's raking, let’s sit back (for a few seconds) and enjoy each Guerrero at-bat. They have been fun to watch.