Mariners Analysis

Monday, April 21, 2008

Is Richie back?

He had a great weekend, and if he continues at this pace he'll hit 42 home runs. I think we all agree we'd take that in a minute. He's in the Top-Ten in HR's, walks and RBI's which is what you want from a first basemen making $15 million.

However, let's see if he can keep this up. I need to see more than a nice couple of weeks before I get too excited and feel the Richie of '07 is gone forever. While this is clearly great for his confidence, and should keep the boos at bay at Safeco, I still feel the league will have an answer for him.

If you watch, it's clear he's made adjustments at the plate. What I am concerned is the league hasn't really cared at this point what he's done based on last year, but that will change in a hurry. Once the revised "book" comes out on his new approach he's going to start getting something he can't handle and we'll see the old, frustrated Richie at the plate.

I hope it doesn't happen. I'll root for him at every at-bat, and I hope Sexson and the M's coaches will detect any changes in pitch selection and make the appropriate counter-move to keep him productive in the lineup.

What we don't want is for McLaren to see a couple of weeks of good Richie and then continue to wait for that same hitter to reappear if the struggles we saw last year return. This team NEEDS the guy we saw this weekend. I hope he really is on track to win Comeback Player of the Year, as McLaren predicted earlier this spring.