Crawford finally getting comfortable at the plate

Crawford finally getting comfortable at the plate
May 27, 2011, 2:21 am
Share This Post

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

DETROIT -- Asked if a .244 batting average ever felt so good, Carl Crawford smiled before replying.

Nah, he said. But I got to take what I can get right now.

In the last two games, Crawford has been taking more than his share. Thursday against the Tigers, he went 4-for-5 with two triples, two runs scored, and three RBI. In his last two games combined, he has gone 8-for-9 with two doubles, two triples, a home run, five runs scored, and five RBI, raising his average to .244, his high-water mark for the season.

We talked about it, said manager Terry Francona. We said we were going to enjoy it. Its been two days in a row where its four hits, and theyre good swings. They werent at pitches out of the strike zone. Hes pulling balls in the gap. Using his legs. It was a matter of time but its certainly nice to see.

In the past four games, Crawford has gone 10-for-16 (.625) with eight runs scored, six RBI, two doubles, two triples, two home runs, two walks, one strikeout and one stolen base. In that time he has raised his average 35 points (from .209), his on-base percentage 34 points (from .243 to .277), and his slugging percentage 91 points (from .277 to .368).

Its starting to be fun for him.

It feels real good just to be able to hit the ball and play like yourself, he said. I havent felt that way in a long time. So to have that feeling back for a few days feels great.

It feels great to be winning. The teams hitting. Everybodys playing well and contributing. Everybody's swinging the bats well. We just hope we can keep that going.

Just feeling a little bit more comfortable at the plate, trying to really get my pitch to hit and not missing it when I do get a chance to drive the ball.

Being more comfortable, more relaxed at the plate makes a big difference for a hitter.

I dont disagree with that, Francona said. I think its hard when youre struggling. Its like when we were 2-11 or 2-10, we talked about it all the time: You got to be strong enough to look up there and realize that well straighten this out. But it takes some patience and all of a sudden you get in that mode and you want to go 3-for-1 as a hitter. It doesnt work.

But these last couple of days, theyll do him a world of good. Regardless of what youre hitting, if you feel like youre going in one direction, its better. And he certainly feels that way. The weathers warmed up somewhat and I think that helps him. Hes got his legs under him. You can see the swings hes taking. Theyre good swings. But I think now he can go out and play.

Two of Crawfords four hits Thursday were triples. He now has eight two-triple games, the last on July 26, 2008, while with the Rays against the Royals. Its ironic he would add to that count on Thursday, because he was a triple shy of the cycle when he went 4-for-4 on Wednesday in Cleveland.

I guess, a day late, said Crawford.

But for the Sox, who moved into a first-place tie with the Yankees, who were off Thursday, its right on time.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen