Wilson Betemit’s surging bat is moving up the Orioles lineup He’s hitting fifth in tonight’s game against the Indians at Camden Yards.
Betemit, who has mostly hit in the sixth and seven spots this season, is part of a lineup shuffle that includes Matt Wieters moving to seventh.
Betemit enters tonight’s game with an eight-game hitting streak -- including four multi-hit games -- and is batting an eye-popping .542 (13-for-24) over his last eight games. In late May, Betemit was hitting just .214, but he’s hitting .383 (23-for-60) in the month of June, raising his batting average to .271.
“Wilson’s swinging the bat well, probably as good as anyone we’ve got,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said when asked of putting Betemit fifth behind cleanup hitter Adam Jones. "Plus, he gives Jonesy the protection. That’s another factor too. You kind of look at your team from the other team’s eyes sometimes. … Who are they going to have anxiety about in different spots.”
Betemit attributes his hot hitting to being more patient at the plate and being willing to go with the pitch to the opposite field.
“When I started the season, I was thinking too much at the plate,” Betemit said. "Trying to do too much. Basically I was trying to pull every time. Basically, I was looking for one pitch good to hit, [and] I would swing at everything. And right now I just go to home plate more patient.”
“Every time I go up there I just trying to hit the ball right in the middle,” he added. "Take the middle. Because when you’re thinking like pull the ball, that’s when you come problems. You have to pull everything. You have to take it the other way and take it in the middle and that’s what I do right now.”
Showalter said he’s noticing that Betemit is seeming to have calmer at-bats, something Showalter would like to see more of during his team’s hitting slump.
“He’s taking what they’re giving him,” Showalter said. “It’s so hard this time of the year with us to take the emotion out of it. That’s the one common denominator of guys who do well over an extended period of time is you take the emotion out of an at-bat and stay with a plan and not get out of it.
“Every once in a while he will. There’s no secret in how people are going to try to pitch him. But if he stays selective, he’s going to find a pitch he can do something with. We talk about his track record, too. That’s another thing about trusting your guys. This isn’t a guy carrying aroung a .230 lifetime batting average.”
In other news:
-- Outfielder Endy Chavez still isn’t progressing from a strained right hamstring, so he’s going to see a specialist. Chavez is in Sarasota but hasn’t done any running activities.
-- Showalter said he won’t move struggling leadoff hitter Brian Roberts from the top spot in the lineup. Roberts has scored just one run in 56 at bats and is hitless in his last 15 at bats. He’s currently hitting .196.