Facing a major-league curveball is never easy for hitters, but you don't do yourself any favors when you swing at pitches outside the strike zone.
That is, unless you're Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson, who stepped into the batter's box against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night and finished with two hits - both on pitches that were out of the zone.
It's incredibly difficult to hit pitches that have the bottom fall out of them - appearing to be heading for the lower part of the strike zone before ending up in the dirt. Many hitters have looked foolish swinging at such pitches, but Dickerson thrived on Tuesday.
In fact, in the top of the third inning in Arlington, Dickerson picked up an opposite-field double on a Nick Martinez pitch that actually bounced before he was able to swing at it. After it bounced, Dickerson made contact and sent it into shallow left field, doing his best impression of a cricket batsman:
Even Dickerson, who is hitting an impressive .346 with 12 home runs and 25 RBI, was surprised with his feat, which brought to mind similar off-the-bounce hits from MLB stars like Ichiro Suzuki and Vladimir Guerrero.
Even Dickerson's other hit - a single - came on a pitch that was down low, well below the strike zone, according to Statcast:
Though Dickerson's MLB career is going quite well at the moment, if he keeps picking up hits like Tuesday's, he should also try his hand at cricket and golf.
The Rays jumped out to a 5-2 lead through five innings, but the Rangers came back to earn a 9-5 victory thanks to a three-run seventh inning and four runs in the eighth:
"I'm proud of how our guys grinded back after being down," Rangers manager Jeff Banister told MLB.com. "We put two runs on the board early, and, for a number of innings, we didn't really mount a whole lot. And then at the end, a big home run by Elvis [Andrus], and the guys just continued to tack on."
With the loss, the Rays fell to 28-27 on the season - five games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East standings. The Rangers, meanwhile, improved to to 26-27 overall, but trail the red-hot Houston Astros by 11 games in the AL West.
The Rangers and Rays finish their series on Wednesday, with each team having won one of the first two games. If the Rangers want to earn the series victory, perhaps they should keep their pitches to Dickerson in the strike zone.
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