Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Former Stratford teammates continue to inspire speculation of major league reunion.
Another year, another rumor that we'll see Stratford grads Matt Wieters and Justin Smoak on the same major league lineup. At catcher for the Orioles, Wieters has found a home with the Baltimore Orioles as one of the best defensive catchers behind the plate. Smoak has struggled to find success at first base for the Seattle Mariners, but he finished the season strong, making him a little more attractive for trade. And that has those familiar with these two players again wondering whether Wieters will get his high school teammate back on the East Coast. Last week, ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted: "Total speculation: Justin Smoak would be an interesting option for the Baltimore Orioles. Some folks there like his swing." That got Baltimore Sports …
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Stratford grad shows extra effort in final leg of 2012 season.
With the end of the season in site, Stratford grad Justin Smoak is giving the Seattle Mariners something to remember when planning for next year. The first baseman has had a tough time at plate. He started strong and then failed to connect for much of the season. Sent to the minor leagues in Tacoma, Smoak returned to Seattle when his replacement was injured. Few had any hope that Smoak would make it to the 2013 roster, but the last two weeks have given the ballclub a glimmer of a Smoak ready for the big leagues. The U.S.S. Mariner blog at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer broke down the numbers in a post Monday: Over the last 10 games, Justin Smoak has come to the plate 38 times, and he's reached base in 20 of them. He's only struck out five …
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
After struggling in 2012, Stratford grad expected to work out the kinks in the offseason.
Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak got a second chance this summer to show Seattle what he could do. The Stratford High grad has continued to struggle at the plate, but it sounds like the Mariners still have a place for him in 2013. Manager Eric Wedge told The News Tribune that Smoak needed to work on his swing in the offseason. "That means we have to make sure he understands why he's struggled this season," he told the paper. "He's got to form better habits, mechanically. His lower half and upper half aren’t working together, and that’s the problem." Read more of the News Tribune story. More:
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Mariners call Stratford grad back to major league.
Stratford grad Justin Smoak returned to Seattle on Tuesday night to fill a hole in the Mariners line-up, and wound up playing a big role in a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. After a struggle finding his groove in the first half of the season, Smoak was optioned to Tacoma's AAA ball club last month. But Seattle called him back up late Monday after first baseman Mike Carp strained a groin muscle. It didn't take long for Smoak get back into the swing of things. He connected with his first swing Tuesday night for a double. He'd go on to score the first run for the Mariners, along with a sacrifice fly ball in the ninth inning to tie the game and put the winning run on third. Don't miss a headline. Like Goose Creek Patch on Facebook! Smoak told…
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
After tough times in Seattle, Smoak sent down to retool.
The Seattle Mariners have sent first baseman Justin Smoak, a Stratford High grad, to AAA Tacoma after a string of batting misses at the plate. "I think everybody's seen what's been going on," Smoak told The Seattle Times. "It's just one of those things where you go down there, get your work in and I get back to where I was a couple of months ago. Smoak told the paper that you never want to get sent down, but he's ready to make it work. "It's something you've got to go through sometimes to get to where you want to be," he said. Don't miss a headline. Like Goose Creek Patch on Facebook! Fellow Stratford grad Matt Wieters, all-star catcher for the Baltimore Orioles, said earlier this month that he thought Smoak would get past this slump. "He'…
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Stratford grad says high school teammate is on the right track.
The Seattle Times spoke with Matt Wieters, catcher for the Baltimore Orioles, during this week's All-Star festivities. There likely isn't a better analyst outside of Seattle on the potential of Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak. Both players graduated from Stratford High School. And, just as Wieters is figuring out what works in Baltimore, he told the Times that Smoak will find what works in Seattle. Don't miss a headline. Like Goose Creek Patch on Facebook! "He's going to hit," Weiters told the paper. "I know it's taking longer than everyone wants, but he's going to hit. He has that kind of ability and that kind of talent … "It's a difficult game and no one has reasons why things come at a certain pace, but my belief is that his ability…
Monday, May 28, 2012
Stratford grad has a strong weekend in Seattle.
Considering the turnaround that Stratford grad Justin Smoak has seen recently in Seattle, it's fitting that the Mariners' ballpark was handing out a Justin Smoak child's growth chart as a promotion on Sunday. Smoak struggled earlier this year, but has found his grove in recent weeks. Last Sunday, The Seattle Times recognized the improvement with the headline, "Justin Smoak steadily increases batting average." In 10 days, Smoak had gone from a .173 batting average to .218. "I'm back to playing every day and being ready to hit when I'm up there," Smoak told the paper. "That's the key — don't wait for certain pitches. Look for the fastball and then adjust." Don't miss a headline. Like Goose Creek Patch on Facebook! This weekend only cemented …
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Things looking up at the plate for Stratford grad.
Seattle Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak looked ready for a breakout year in the preseason, but he's had a tough time getting his footing — particularly at the plate. That all may be changing, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Mariners blog, with the Stratford grad batting .500 against the Yankees during the recent series in New York. He told 710 ESPN Seattle's Shannon Drayer this weekend that he's been working on "hitting the ball out of the pitcher's hand," or trying to get a jump on a pitch and recognizing it sooner. Maybe he's shortening up his long swing. Maybe it's just about confidence. MLB.com notes Smoak when 2-for-4 against Boston on Monday, another suggestion that he may be slowly turning things around. "I'm …
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Vote online for Stratford High grads.
Stratford High alums Matt Wieters and Justin Smoak are on the Major League Baseball All-Star ballot released Friday. Wieters, the catcher for the Baltimore Orioles, is batting .279 so far this season. The Orioles are currently leading their division, 8-5. Earlier this week, Wieters hit a grand slam in the 10th inning for a win against the White Sox. MLB.com notes Wieters is "on the cusp of breakout." Smoak, the first baseman for the Mariners in Seattle, is batting .214, with a record four hits Tuesday night. Bleacher Report noted that kind of success won't come every night, but it could be a good indicator of things to come for Smoak. If he can continue to see the ball as well as he is, it would not be a surprise to see him batting around…
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Stratford grad at center stage as Seattle prepares for 2012 season.
As they prepare for opening day, the Seattle Mariners have released playful new commercials to get fans excited. No surprise that first baseman Justin Smoak, a Stratford High grad, is featured in one of those spots. Smoak is getting a lot of attention as expecations ramp up for a breakout season in 2012.