Update 4:04 Biggio time
Want to know what kind of kid James Jones is?
Well, here’s a good example relayed to us by manager Lloyd McClendon.
Before yesterday’s game, Jones poked his head into the manager’s office at Minute Maid Park. In his quiet voice, he asked McClendon if he could talk to him for a few minutes.
“I thought something was wrong,” McClendon said “Maybe family problem and then he said, ‘What can I do to get to better?'”
After Jones racked up four hits and three stolen bases later that night – something only done by Ichiro Suzuki in club history (4-for-5, 4 steals on July 20, 2004), the answer was simple.
“I told him after the game, ‘Keep getting four hits and stealing three bases. He’ll be really good and I’ll be really smart,'” McClendon joked.
Still, it was only a mild surprise for McClendon. Though it isn’t common for most players, it’s typical behavior for Jones.
“This kid, he’s special in that respect,” McClendon said. “He wants to be the best he can be. I don’t think he’s motivated by the dollar figure so to speak. He’s motivated to be the best player he can be and that’s special.”
Jones didn’t think it was a big deal that he did such a thing.
“I always feel like I have something I can improve on,” he said. “It’s just being on the same page as the manager. I know have some things, personally, I feel should improve. But from his perspective, he’s got a lot of experience and he’s seen everything. I just want to get his insight.”
McClendon said his advice was simple.
“I told him to keep doing what he’s doing,” he said. “Keep studying the way he’s been studying. Whatever you do, don’t let Robinson Cano out of your sights. He’s done a good job of that.”
McClendon and others like to joke that Jones is Cano’s shadow.
Jones did say that McClendon offered more specific advice.
“He said that I’m really smart on the base path, but I need to know when to be aggressive and when to pull back,” Jones said. “Work on my routes in the outfield. He’s said I’ve improved at that, but there is definitely more room improvement in that.”
Jones has been already working to improve his base stealing. He’s stolen 17 bags this year. But he’s hoping video work will make him more prolific.
“I realized I could do times on the pitcher on how fast they are to the plate, find trends on pitchers like if they tuck their head when they go home on the pitch or they move their head when try to pick you off,” he said. “Pick up on their patterns, that helps.”
Jones stole third base in last night’s game. He’s starting to do that more. How does he know when he wants to go.
“If he’s doing a high leg kick, I try to go,” he said. “If he’s not paying attention, and he’s just trying to throw strikes, then I want to get third, make it hard for him to throw his offspeed pitches to the hitter.
McClendon doesn’t mind stealing third in the right situations.
“You’re never wrong when you are safe, regardless of the situation,” he said. “That’s what I conveyed to him. Most of the time he’s on his own. One thing I told him, the manager looks really good when you are safe. But when you are out, he looks like an a$%^&*(. So make sure you are safe.”
It’s a rare occasions when Jones doesn’t have the green light to steal.
“He’s been very intelligent in choosing his spots,” McClendon said. “There’s been times when I said, don’t go. Last night with first and third and Robbie, we don’t’ want him running in that situation.”
*** Erasmo Ramirez was scratched from his start last night because he was with his wife, who was having twin boys. McClendon said both are healthy.
Same lineup as yesterday with lots of lefties. Oddly, Jarred Cosart has reverse splits for his career.
Here’s what Mariners’ hitters have done against him.
Big thanks to the Seattle Times sports desk of cleaning up a wordy, mess of a game story last night. It was the equivalent to striking out three times in one game.
Lots of talk about the run differential from the Mariners. The Mariners led the AL in run differential in June at plus 47. For the year, they have a plus run differential of 56. That’s not bad. I saw Geoff was tweeting quite a bit about it. I have no real thoughts about it. The pitching has been good. The offense has been meh for the most part. Is it sustainable? Maybe not quite to this level with the current roster. Though replacing Walker/Paxton for that fifth starting spot should be a serious upgrade.
Official game notes …