Either Mark Mc Gwire was the greatest hitting coach who ever lived... Or else David Freese's back is still bothering him.
Freese is hitting more than 100 points below his career batting average and 80 points below his career on-base percentage with no signs of coming out of the swoon any time soon.
I really think Freese's back is still bothering him because he doesn't seem to be able to extend his arms and put any power into his stroke. Typically he hits best from centerfield to the right center gap. But Freese seems to be jumping at the ball and trying to pull more than he usually does. Basically he's hitting with his arms and not with his core.
Back problems aren't going to magically go away. If Freese is still hurting he needs to shut it down and get better. Otherwise this is going to be one of those problems that lingers all year. I'd rather lose him for a couple of weeks now and get him well than have a whole season of him playing at 75 percent.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
While he's trying to help the team, he's not only failing in that endeavor. Freese is also damaging his ability to try to get a long term contract. This poor start is doing nothing to dispel the notion that he's brittle. And, now past his 30th birthday, that's going to cause even more concern.
Mc Gwire certainly did a lot to help Freese. But I just don't believe it's the hitting coach who is to blame for the struggling third baseman's woes. When I watch him swing, he just doesn't look comfortable.