Mathis coming alive with bat

There are very few catchers Mike Sciosica puts in Jeff Mathis’ class defensively. Offensively, Mathis has “underachieved” in his manager’s evaluation.

“He’s got more offense in him, for sure,” Scioscia said. “There are probably a lot of things contributing to it. He hasn’t come to the park knowing he’s going to get four at-bats. That’s obviously important to a young player. He has more than he has brought to the offensive end.”

After enduring nightmarish months of June (.158) and July (.147), Mathis has come alive in August. He was hitting .300 in 30 at-bats this month coming into his start on Saturday against Scott Richmond, with a .467 slugging percentage. Those numbers would be even higher if not for several recent shots and long drives that found gloves.

Overall, Mathis has brought his average to .211 with five homers and 26 RBIs in 175 at-bats. He’s batting .267 with runners in scoring position, continuing a career trend of doing his best work when it matters most.

Last season, for example, he batted only .194 – five points below his current career average – but he produced nine homers and 42 RBIs in 283 at-bats, a half-season.

“The power production we get from our two catchers [Mathis and Mike Napoli] is about as good as there is in the game,” Scioscia said.

Mathis came to Spring Training in a hitting groove, having spent the winter hitting in a home-made cage in the barn he calls home in Florida, and went through an intensive session with hitting coach Mickey Hatcher upon his arrival in Tempe, Ariz.

This translated into a brilliant spring, inspiring confidence that Mathis – a superlative athlete recruited to play football at Florida State – was on his way to a breakout season.

“I’ve gotten away from things I was doing in Spring Training,” Mathis said. “I feel like I’ve gotten back in a better place to hit. I’m shorter to the ball, letting the ball get deeper. The big thing is laying off pitchers’ pitches.”

Like all the Angels’ hitters, Mathis has been a study of Bobby Abreu, a textbook example of how to approach at-bats with his remarkable discipline.

“Watching him helps,” Mathis said. “He recognizes the pitch so quick, and you don’t see him getting fooled and taking bad swings very often. He gets in good counts, and even when he has two strikes, he’s confident he can find something to hit. He never panics.

“To appreciate what he does, you have to see him every day. Playing against him, you don’t realize everything he does. You know he’s a good player – just not this good. He doesn’t just do it in one game, one series. He does it every day. It’s 162 games with Bobby.”

9 Comments

Coming alive at the plate..really? That was quite the sacrifice bunt Mathis put down in today’s game. Are we really celebrating a .211 batting average compared to Napoli’s .297 average? To be honest, I do not get this love affair with Mathis. He is a liability at the plate, he does not throw out runners stealing 2nd base any better than Napoli does, and this “relationship” he has with Santana and Lackey is very over rated. It is never pointed out that Napoli was stuck with those 2 when they returned from the DL and now that their stuff has improved, Mathis is getting the credit? Did Mathis get called into Scioscia’s office after Lackey was lit up the other night like Napoli was after Weaver’s meltdown? Why not? If he was, why wasn’t that a lead story in the local papers? If this were any other team, Napoli, especially because of his hitting ability, would be playing everyday and Mathis would be a backup–if he was even on the roster. I will admit that I have a strong bias for Napoli, but let’s try and celebrate a catcher’s accomplishments that are truly worth noting.

Coming alive at the plate..really? That was quite the sacrifice bunt Mathis put down in today’s game. Are we really celebrating a .211 batting average compared to Napoli’s .297 average? To be honest, I do not get this love affair with Mathis. He is a liability at the plate, he does not throw out runners stealing 2nd base any better than Napoli does, and this “relationship” he has with Santana and Lackey is very over rated. It is never pointed out that Napoli was stuck with those 2 when they returned from the DL and now that their stuff has improved, Mathis is getting the credit? Did Mathis get called into Scioscia’s office after Lackey was lit up the other night like Napoli was after Weaver’s meltdown? Why not? If he was, why wasn’t that a lead story in the local papers? If this were any other team, Napoli, especially because of his hitting ability, would be playing everyday and Mathis would be a backup–if he was even on the roster. I will admit that I have a strong bias for Napoli, but let’s try and celebrate a catcher’s accomplishments that are truly worth noting.

Coming alive at the plate..really? That was quite the sacrifice bunt Mathis put down in today’s game. Are we really celebrating a .211 batting average compared to Napoli’s .297 average? To be honest, I do not get this love affair with Mathis. He is a liability at the plate, he does not throw out runners stealing 2nd base any better than Napoli does, and this “relationship” he has with Santana and Lackey is very over rated. It is never pointed out that Napoli was stuck with those 2 when they returned from the DL and now that their stuff has improved, Mathis is getting the credit? Did Mathis get called into Scioscia’s office after Lackey was lit up the other night like Napoli was after Weaver’s meltdown? Why not? If he was, why wasn’t that a lead story in the local papers? If this were any other team, Napoli, especially because of his hitting ability, would be playing everyday and Mathis would be a backup–if he was even on the roster. I will admit that I have a strong bias for Napoli, but let’s try and celebrate a catcher’s accomplishments that are truly worth noting.

Coming alive at the plate..really? That was quite the sacrifice bunt Mathis put down in today’s game. Are we really celebrating a .211 batting average compared to Napoli’s .297 average? To be honest, I do not get this love affair with Mathis. He is a liability at the plate, he does not throw out runners stealing 2nd base any better than Napoli does, and this “relationship” he has with Santana and Lackey is very over rated. It is never pointed out that Napoli was stuck with those 2 when they returned from the DL and now that their stuff has improved, Mathis is getting the credit? Did Mathis get called into Scioscia’s office after Lackey was lit up the other night like Napoli was after Weaver’s meltdown? Why not? If he was, why wasn’t that a lead story in the local papers? If this were any other team, Napoli, especially because of his hitting ability, would be playing everyday and Mathis would be a backup–if he was even on the roster. I will admit that I have a strong bias for Napoli, but let’s try and celebrate a catcher’s accomplishments that are truly worth noting.

Coming alive at the plate..really? That was quite the sacrifice bunt Mathis put down in today’s game. Are we really celebrating a .211 batting average compared to Napoli’s .297 average? To be honest, I do not get this love affair with Mathis. He is a liability at the plate, he does not throw out runners stealing 2nd base any better than Napoli does, and this “relationship” he has with Santana and Lackey is very over rated. It is never pointed out that Napoli was stuck with those 2 when they returned from the DL and now that their stuff has improved, Mathis is getting the credit? Did Mathis get called into Scioscia’s office after Lackey was lit up the other night like Napoli was after Weaver’s meltdown? Why not? If he was, why wasn’t that a lead story in the local papers? If this were any other team, Napoli, especially because of his hitting ability, would be playing everyday and Mathis would be a backup–if he was even on the roster. I will admit that I have a strong bias for Napoli, but let’s try and celebrate a catcher’s accomplishments that are truly worth noting.

Coming alive at the plate..really? That was quite the sacrifice bunt Mathis put down in today’s game. Are we really celebrating a .211 batting average compared to Napoli’s .297 average? To be honest, I do not get this love affair with Mathis. He is a liability at the plate, he does not throw out runners stealing 2nd base any better than Napoli does, and this “relationship” he has with Santana and Lackey is very over rated. It is never pointed out that Napoli was stuck with those 2 when they returned from the DL and now that their stuff has improved, Mathis is getting the credit? Did Mathis get called into Scioscia’s office after Lackey was lit up the other night like Napoli was after Weaver’s meltdown? Why not? If he was, why wasn’t that a lead story in the local papers? If this were any other team, Napoli, especially because of his hitting ability, would be playing everyday and Mathis would be a backup–if he was even on the roster. I will admit that I have a strong bias for Napoli, but let’s try and celebrate a catcher’s accomplishments that are truly worth noting.

If Mathis were on any other team, he would be playing in double a ball. I dont understand this at all! This team is all about getting base hits, and this guy cant do that, he is an automatic out. He probably couldnt even hit off of a tee! 211. give me a break! I still cant believe he was playing on Napoli bobblehead night, what a slap in the face to the 40,000 fans that went to the game. Mathis was given the starting job 3 years ago, and he was just as bad then as he is now. Thank god Napoli was in our farm system to come and save us. I understand giving Nap a day off every week, but get another backup, please. Howie was sent down to work on his play, why cant Mathis go down??????????

I recognize the dissension with Jeff Mathis, however, I agree with this article. I have been watching Mathis from the minors and am quite pleased with his abilities behind the plate. Not playing on a regular basis or having knowledge as to when one is playing is an uncomfortable position to be in. Perhaps Scioscia can play him on a regular basis so both he and Napoli know who is catching on what day and prep accordingly. I don’t think anyone understands that this game heralds those who are out 6-7 times out of 10. This is NOT a video game where you hit the button a few times and voila you have the instant desired result. This game takes preparation and skill. Mathis has both! He’s exhibiting it and should be appreciated for his efforts under the circumstances he’s been dealing with.

ewjazzed before you call someone an idiot look in the mirror. Everyone knows that scosia calls the pitches from the dugout. The catchers do not call the pitches. Don’t believe everything you read from the Angel sports writers. They print what the angels tell them to print, just like the broadcasters. They are given a script to go by. Scosia determines who catches and when, so he can pick the days that favors Mathis for ERA. I will spell scosias name right when he manages better,. Any manager could manage this team successfuly . They have great dept. Their pitching is a question however. Even someone with limited knowledge like you could flip a coin and be right as often as Scosia.

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