Losing a ground ball in the lights? Nice. Maybe it is time to retire. Then the all but crowned ROY "focusing in" and letting a guy who hits about 6 homers a year jack a 380 foot shot. He wouldn't have hit that off Danny Espinosa (mostly because Danny would pitch too slow or walk him or give up an easy line drive hit - but you can't say I'm wrong!)
In other news, I want to like Jayson Werth. I really haven't hammered him because he's been mostly hmm... let's say "productive" at the plate (it was a hideous June that made everything look so bad), he's been decent in the field, and he's been good on the basepaths. All the while he's mostly held his head up during this whole thing. No, he hasn't been perfect with the media but he easily could have turned on everyone and been a surly jerk and that doesn't seem to have happened. Plus, everyone is entitled to a bad year right? It's not his fault that the Nationals stupidly offered him all that cash.
But then I read articles like this and I can't. No he isn't surly but he sure does sound like he's making excuses. He lost his swing and he had no one that could help him because his swing is sooo unique and only a couple of Phillies could possibly understand it. It is the specialist of special flowers. And he didn't have his videos! I know I can't hit a wiffle ball without my VHS copy of Days of Thunder. What's next, locusts?
This whole "I lost it but now I've found it and am doing good" really doesn't jive with what we saw this year. Well, I'll take that back. It jives with the first two months. April was bad, but only BA wise. He was seeing and slugging the ball fine. Fancy stats suggest that he was hitting the ball on the ground WAY too much and not connecting squarely at all. Perhaps that slow start was an swing issue. Then he fixed it. May was his best month. Everything was fine. It was classic Werth more or less. It was June where it went to hell. He stopped hitting the ball at all. It wasn't a huge change in how he was hitting it, he just wasn't hitting it with any authority. He caught some bad breaks too making the month horrible, but the same issues carried on into July where he didn't catch the same bad breaks but was still a hole at the plate. He seemed to set things right in August but only at the expense of his patience. Now in September things have gotten bad again - he's hitting nothing square. So "I lost it, then I found it, then I lost it again, then I found it again, then I lost it?" Or maybe, just maybe, it's not that simple.
Werth doesn't deserve the grief he's taking for living up to a contract he wasn't worth. But at the same time by taking that contract you have to expect that grief, deserved or not. You took the money, you didn't deliver, you "did wrong". When you do wrong the best way to move forward is not to make lame excuses that don't explain everything. Just keep your head down, chin up, and tell everyone what they want to hear, then make what you say a reality. For Jayson Werth that's saying it's on off-year, you're working on it and expect to be much better in 2012. That's all they want to hear right now. Then make it a reality.