A look at Adam Jones’ pursuit of the down-and-away breaking ball

In the seventh inning Sunday with the Orioles down by one run, Adam Jones struck out on a down-and-away pitch by San Diego’s Yoervis Medina.

But, as if to prove that pitch won’t always get him out, Jones delivered an RBI single in the first inning last night off Seattle’s Edinson Volquez on another down-and-away pitch. In fact, this one looked to be a few inches off the outside corner and probably would have been called ball four.

Jones had a big game in San Diego, going 4-for-4 for his first four-hit game of 2013. He drove in the first two runs and scored the fourth in a 4-1 win. He hit his 23rd homer. He raised his average six points to .298.

Sometimes fans write here and say, “Why would any pitcher ever throw Jones a strike?” Well, sometimes he does hit that down-and-away pitch, and last night was one of those times. Maybe the difference was he cut down on his swing a bit and drove the ball up the middle. Don’t try to do too much with the pitch.

Also, if all it took was throwing the ball down and away to always get Jones out, how come he is batting .318 this year against right-handed pitching and just .246 off lefties?

Jones is now batting .315 with runners in scoring position and he is 8-for-15 (.533) with two homers and four RBIs in four career games at San Diego’s Petco Park. Not a bad performance in his hometown and everyone at Morse High must be proud.

At his current pace, Jones will finish batting .298 with 40 doubles, 33 homers, 110 runs and 113 RBIs. He would set career highs in each category if he does finish at or above those numbers.

By the way, he was also selected first in the American League for “best outfield arm” and second for “best defensive outfielder” in Baseball America’s Best Tools Survey of big league managers released yesterday.

When Jones has a night like last night he reminds us of the considerable talent he has and that this year, for much of the season, he’s been overshadowed by Chris Davis and Manny Machado.

Yes, he chases some pitches that frustrate fans and he doesn’t draw a lot of walks, but those numbers overall are very strong. Sometimes in focusing on what he doesn’t always do well, we miss what he does do.

Can the fans be too hard on Jones? How do you feel about the season he is having?

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