11 Aug

time crunch

The season is young. But it’s also short. And several Mississippians in the majors are off to chilly starts at the plate that have to be concerning. For Austin Riley, the former DeSoto Central High standout, there was a glimmer of positivity on Monday in an otherwise dreadful day for Atlanta. Riley went 2-for-4 with a home run in the Braves’ 13-8 loss at Philadelphia. His homer, No. 3 on the year, came during the Braves’ seven-run “rally” in the ninth inning. Riley is batting .167 and has struck out 17 times in 42 at-bats, frequently flailing at breaking balls out of the zone. Pitch recognition is something he has reportedly worked on since last year. As a rookie in 2019, Riley came out hot and then faded dramatically. Given the opportunity to take the regular third base job this season, he hasn’t stepped up. And, yes, there are others who have yet to step up. McComb’s Jarrod Dyson has scuffled in his first season with Pittsburgh, hitting .118 in 13 games. Note: He is 35. Teammate Adam Frazier, a Mississippi State product, is at .177 with five runs in 15 games as the Pirates’ leadoff batter. Crystal Springs native Hunter Renfroe, in a new uniform in 2020, is batting .159 for Tampa Bay with two homers and nine RBIs. His two homers were on July 27. He has just two RBIs in August. Corey Dickerson, a career .285 hitter, is at .229 through 10 games with his new club, Miami, and has just one RBI. Fulton’s Brian Dozier and Taylorsville’s Billy Hamilton, recent additions to the New York Mets’ active roster, haven’t seen a lot of action or produced much. Dozier is 2-for-15, Hamilton 0-for-10. P.S. Hot-hitting JaCoby Jones, the Richton High alum, smacked an inside-the-park homer on Monday for Detroit and now has five round-trippers, one shy of ex-State star Mitch Moreland for the all-Mississippi home run lead. Moreland hit two for Boston on Sunday, including a walk-off blast over the Green Monster, but was out of the lineup Monday.

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