DJ LeMahieu has looked like the healthy version of himself from 2019 and 2020. He has not stopped hitting for a few months. The fun thing about him is his hot streaks come in in a beautiful form due to the way he approaches the game. While he has been much more patient this year, his swings have been more aggressive. The level of intent he has when he attacks a pitch in the zone is like night and day compared to last season.
This past Sunday against the Cardinals, DJ continued his hot streak with a three-hit night, with one of them coming against the crafty veteran, Adam Wainwright. I was excited for this particular matchup this weekend, since Wainwright comes at hitters with a great mix and tunneling and DJ battles the best of pitchers no matter their arsenal. In this matchup, DJ came out on top.
This hook is still top tier over 15 seasons later, but he pulled it just out of the zone, giving LeMahieu the advantage to start off the at-bat. The 12-6 hook is the best pitch to throw 0-0 — more than any other pitch, it’s close to an automatic take. It’s rare that a hitter would attack the pitch, and Waino has used it to his advantage his entire career. Anyways, 1-0 count.
Like DJ has done quite often this season, here is an auto take in an advantage, 1-0 count. He has no problem taking pitches in any non-two-strike count. Simply put, this slider was not what he was looking for, so he let it go by even though it was in the middle of the zone. 1-1 count.
This is a great spot by Wainwright. He knows how patient LeMahieu is as a hitter, so he opted for a fastball on the corner to get ahead in the count. As a pitcher with pinpoint command, you live and die on the edges. DJ has been extremely patient on the edges this season, another reason why I was so excited for this matchup. 1-2 count with a maestro and a battler.
Not a lot of pitchers can locate fastballs in this area in this modern version of baseball. Even with an 87 mph heater, you can still get under a hitters hands and avoid their barrel. Wainwright tried here, and the Yankees infielder fought the pitch off with a great two-strike approach. Run back the 1-2 count.
Oooh this was a very good swing, but the location was just high enough to stay under his barrel. This is what I’m talking about, though. This is an aggressive, accurate swing in a 1-2 count on a pitch around the edge of the zone. DJ takes great A swings in all types of counts. He keeps pitchers on their toes. Run it back again.
Nice try there, Wainwright. The back running two-seam is a tough pitch to execute. My guess is that if the pitch was any closer, DJ would’ve taken one of his quick emergency hacks to fight this off, but luckily he did not have to. If I’m him, I’m imagining Wainwright will want to try and sneak another pitch in on the back door. DJ hasn’t been fooled by any inside or high pitches. It be smart to stay on the edges in this 2-2 count.
My goodness. This was close. If Yadi got under the pitch just a hair earlier, this could have gone for a backwards k. It’s a pro take and a pro pitch. With a 3-2 count coming, you have to expect any pitch. He has been great on the corners, and DJ has won almost every pitch anyways.
This one ran just too far over the middle of the plate. As I just said, no pitch was sneaking by the inner half against DJ based on his previous swings. He took an incredible hack and smoked this pitch into the left center gap for a double. This was my favorite at-bat of the weekend. It had execution on both sides, and featured a legendary duo too, but DJ came out on top.