Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Doubles Don't Clash

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Image courtesy of Daylife via AP
Well, it appears the inaugural Meats Don't  Clash Monday was a huge success, because not once, not twice, but thrice did the MDC patron saint Travis Snider hit a double at Fenway Park.

I don't want to get too excited about this, so I'll approach yesterday's game with tempered enthusiasm. We've seen this before where Snider comes back like a bat out of hell, so I think the results should be taken with a grain of salt.

The topic du jour seemed to be whether Travis Snider's swing was different in any way. Gregg Zaun didn't really notice a difference aside from a slight shift in his batting stance, and I would tend to agree.

As you'll notice from the replay of Snider's first double from yesterday, he stays with the ball but only drives it as one hand comes off the bat. It's a pattern that was all too familiar before he was send down to Las Vegas:

Perhaps I was expecting to see a complete overhaul of Travis Snider's swing, and all they really did was tweak it a little bit. In Snider's own words, he's trying to stay square to the ball and not get his entire body with his swing.

In previous match-ups against the Yankees, I recall the broadcasters talking about a similar situation with Curtis Granderson. He tweaked his swing last season and since then it's paid dividends and allowed Granderson to hit left-handers all of a sudden.

I'm sure there's much more to it than this layman's term explanation, but the gist of it was that Curtis Granderson was not keeping both hands on the bat through contact, and was one-handing it much similar to Travis Snider.

ESPN has a great article showing the difference in heat maps comparing Curtis Granderson's plate coverage from last year and this season. The explanation Granderson offered was that he shortened his swing and simplified his approach.

Once Granderson allowed himself to keep his hands on the bat as long as possible, that's when he re-discovered his home run power. This may just be me talking out my posterior, but why not apply the same strategy to Travis Snider?

Whatever the case is, the results are there through at least the first game. Travis Snider wasn't murdering the ball yesterday by any means, but six bases is a great start. Doubles don't clash after all.

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