SEATTLE -- Mariners outfielder Ben Gamel continued his torrid pace on Tuesday night, going 3-for-5 with a double and a home run in a 5-4 win in 10 innings over the Tigers.It just added to a list of impressive figures for the rookie left-handed hitter.He's been red hot in June,
SEATTLE -- Mariners outfielder Ben Gamel continued his torrid pace on Tuesday night, going 3-for-5 with a double and a home run in a 5-4 win in 10 innings over the Tigers.
It just added to a list of impressive figures for the rookie left-handed hitter.
He's been red hot in June, during which he's spent much of the time in the leadoff spot while Jean Segura is on the 10-day disabled list with a high ankle sprain. Gamel's hitting .416 in June with six doubles. A leadoff double on Tuesday extended his hitting streak to 12 games, a stretch in which Gamel has hit .460.
But Gamel doesn't obsess over statistics.
"There's so many numbers, there's so many numbers for everything," Gamel said. "I just try and keep things simple and take it one at-bat at a time and grind through them."
Even though he entered Thursday with a slugging percentage of .487, Gamel's extraordinarily high BABIP (batting average with balls in play) sits at .459 -- league average is typically just above .300 -- which has made up for his overall lack of home runs and extra-base hits.
Sure, Gamel's seen some good fortune, but there's nothing about his performance that would indicate that his stretch is a fluke to his teammates.
"He's got a really, really nice swing," said Kyle Seager, who had the walk-off RBI on Tuesday. "He's in the zone a long time. I really like his move and he gets on plane, so even if he gets beat a little late or out front, he's still on plane where he can dump the ball into left or hit the ball down the line. He's pretty good. He's really locked in right now."
Gamel punished a 93.3-mph fastball from Daniel Stumpf a projected 409 feet to center field, according to Statcast™, capping a nine-pitch at-bat.
"What an awesome at-bat," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "Fouled those pitches off, balls all over the place, and then he gets one in a good spot and squares one up against a pretty good left-handed pitcher.
"Can't say enough: It's righty, it's lefty and he's using all parts of the field. I've been saying he's got power and he showed it today. He smoked that ball."
That's been the key all season for Gamel: wait for his pitch, then attack. And for the most part, his pitch is a four-seam fastball, which he's hitting at a .533 clip, according to Statcast™. It's the highest percentage in the Major Leagues among players with at least 40 at-bats that concluded with that pitch. Dodgers' Justin Turner is second at .456.
"It's tough in this game. You pretty much got one or two good pitches to hit in an at-bat. Two if you're lucky," Gamel said. "Fortunately, I haven't been missing my pitch."
Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle.