Dustin Ackley stays mired in slump
SAN DIEGO – Dustin Ackley looked back at home plate umpire Mark Carlson for a moment – a look that said he didn’t agree with a called strike three on a sinker on the outside corner.
Ackley didn’t put up an argument, though he may have had one based on video replays of the pitch. Instead he slowly walked back to the dugout following another strikeout in a half-season filled with too many of them.
Ackley finished the game 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. His batting average has sunk to .243, and he looks like he’s fighting his swing and himself at the plate. He looks nothing like the sweet-swinging, hard-hitting prospect the Mariners called up midway through the 2011 season.
After hitting .273 with a .348 on-base percentage and a .417 slugging percentage in 90 games last season, much was expected of Ackley.
At the moment, he is falling well short of those lofty expectations. Besides his sub-.250 batting average, his on-base percentage (.319) is down slightly and his slugging percentage (.338) has fallen even further.
“I still think it’s more about his approach and mindset,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “Recognizing what they’re doing to him. He’s going to have to make some adjustments. I know he’s in the process of trying to do that.”
Ackley went 4-for-21 on the trip with six strikeouts. For the month of June, he has 16 hits in 73 at-bats (.219) with 23 strikeouts and two extra base hits – a pair of doubles.
The strikeouts are a little surprising, and alarming.
This season, he has struck out 66 times in 274 at-bats. Last season, he struck out 79 times in 333 at-bats. Similar, but not progress.
“He’s not going to be a guy that’s going to strike out like he is now,” Wedge said. “He just has too much barrel to the bat, his hands are good. They’re pitching him tough. He had a good break-in year last year and they’re pitching him tough. He just has to make that adjustment and take it away from them.”
To his credit, Ackley hasn’t let the struggles lead to any outburst or affect him on defense. He has maintained a cool attitude, but it hasn’t been enjoyable not hitting.
“I know he’s frustrated right now,” Wedge said. “He’s going to be fine. He needs to recognize what’s been going on for a period of time, and take that away from the opposition. That’s what he has to do. We’ll help him get there.”
Reliever Charlie Furbush threw two perfect innings, while striking out two batters. Furbush has recorded at least one strikeout in each of his past 16 appearances. He hasn’t allowed a run since May 15.
Ichiro Suzuki has a seven-game hit streak against the Padres and is hitting .400 (12-for-30) in that span. For his career he’s a .344 hitter (99-for-288) against the Padres.
Kyle Seager didn’t start Sunday because of a sore left calf muscle, stemming from a foul ball off the leg on Saturday. He did pinch hit in the eighth inning and doubled to left.
Hector Noesi had two hits Sunday as Seattle pitchers went 4-for-14 on the trip.
The Mariners open a 10-game homestand today with the start of a three-game series agains Oakland at 7:10 p.m on Root Sports. Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (0-1, 5.40 ERA) will go against left-hander Tommy Milone (7-5, 4.13).
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