Lloyd McClendon believes Dustin Ackley can hit. He has seen it earlier this season, tantalizing stretches where the former No. 2 overall pick sprays line drives all over the field, while also showing some power potential.
McClendon has also seen the droughts where Ackley seems to perpetually start an at-bat with an 0-2 count.
It’s that inconsistency that leaves McClendon confused. It’s not a matter of talent.
“I’m not quite sure,” McClendon said. “I think it’s a legitimate question. I think it’s a fair question. That’s a question that he probably has to answer because I can’t get into his head. I don’t know. I’d like to see him be more aggressive at the plate. We’ve talked about it. At times he is more aggressive and at other times, he’s very passive up there.”
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Is there a happy medium?
“One thing I’m starting to learn, he’s a very streaky hitter,” McClendon said. “I guess we’ll have to ride the hot streaks and pick and choose when he’s not swinging very well. He’s a talented individual. But I need to see it every day, not just spurts.”
That’s put Ackley on the bench the past two days even with right-handed starting pitchers facing the Mariners. .
Ackley is hitting .214 (15 for 70) with a .548 OPS in his past 23 games (19 starts).
“I don’t think I’m on any bad stretch here by any means,” he said. “We ran through a tough stretch there with (Chris) Sale and a couple of guys. But as far as personally, I haven’t felt too bad, other than the no hits in the last game I played. (Phil) Hughes was pretty tough that game.”
Ackley is hitting .229 with a .627 OPS on the season.
“I don’t feel I’m a .220 hitter by any means,” he said. “I’ve been through some stretches where I’ve hit how I’m capable of. I think it’s about being consistent. That’s what this game is and you can’t go through stretches then in fall into slumps.”
When it’s going right, what is he doing at the plate?
“It’s just stepping up to the plate confident every time,” he said. “I’m not a guy that tries to hit the ball the other way or do anything like that. I think when I’m doing the right things, those things happen. I’m just ready to hit the fastball every time and that’s pretty much it. I don’t think it’s a matter of anything else.”
The scouting report, particularly for right-handed pitchers, is to stay on the outside corner to Ackley because he won’t swing at the pitch or hit it hard.
“One thing I’ve done in the last couple weeks is move up on the plate a little bit and make that pitch away feel not so far away,” he said. “I think I have pulled the trigger on a lot of those pitches away more often lately than I have earlier in the year. I think it’s a matter of continuing with that same approach of getting balls over the plate and hit it where it’s pitched.”
• The Mariners made an expected roster move, calling up lefty reliever Lucas Luetge from Class AAA Tacoma. Stephen Pryor, who was called up the day before, was optioned back to the Rainiers.
Ryan Divish: 206-464-2373 or firstname.lastname@example.org.