Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Everything evening out for Jason Bay

Jason Bay couldn't have dreamed a better start.

The left fielder hit .324 and OPS'ed 1.123 in April. He hit a game-tying home run in a key game against the Yankees. He played a flawless -- according to fielding percentage, anyway -- left field.

Had Theo Epstein taken a New England-wide vote, he'd have had no choice but to hand Jason Bay a fill-in-the-blank contract: $80 million? Sure. $90 million? Of course. $100 million? Whatever it takes!

Bay, though, has cooled way off in the last month. Even before he struck out in his first two at-bats on Wednesday, he was hitting .227 in his last 25 games. He still was hitting for power (seven doubles, one triple and one home run), but he wasn't getting hits or getting on base the way he'd been doing in April.

This isn't to say Red Sox fans suddenly should be worried about Jason Bay. This is to say that everything in baseball tends to even out. Take Bay's BAPIP -- batting average on balls in play -- numbers by month:

April: .360
May: .261
June (so far): .238

For the season as a whole, Bay's BAPIP is .293 -- four points below the major-league average. He's actually at a point where his luck is due to start going back the other way.

Bay will be fine. He's a perennial threat to slug at least .550, and he'll almost certainly end the season slugging at least .550. When a guy is slugging .667 on Mother's Day, though, you can almost guarantee he'll endure the type of dry spell Bay is enduring now.

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