SALT LAKE CITY— Doug Deeds has sure been able to light the fire in this Salt Lake ball club. In 15 starts as the leadoff hitter, Deeds has helped the Bees to a 9-6 record with seven doubles, two triples, one homer and six RBIs.
Saturday night was a great example of why Bees manager Keith Johnson made the decision to put Deeds at the leadoff spot, as the outfielder went 3-for-5 with an RBI in the 13-5 loss.
"The reason I inserted him up there is because even when he wasn't getting hits, he puts together a good at bat," Johnson said.
"A guy at the top of the lineup that has the ability to do that gives our other guys an opportunity to see more of the pitcher and his pitches."
Deeds got off to a good start Saturday night, extending his hit streak to nine consecutive games with a single in his first at-bat. The veteran outfielder was also able to score the first run of the game for Salt Lake, after Hank Conger singled on a line drive to center field.
His second at bat of the night was equally impressive, smacking an RBI single that brought the Bees within on run in the bottom of the second.
Understanding the role of the leadoff role is crucial, and Deeds was spot on when describing exactly what his job is night in and night out for the Bees.
"I think the toughest thing that can happen is that you get a little too anxious," said Deeds. "Once you know that there is the unknown factor of the control of the pitcher and what the pitches are, you take a step back and let the game come to you."
It certainly isn't a simple task, which Deeds admitted, but it's certainly something that has blossomed into a great move by the Bees manager.
"It's never easy, but taking your time and seeing some pitches that first at bat sort of lets yourself gauge the pitcher, and lets everyone else see what he has," Deeds said.
NOTEBOOK: Luis Jimenez finished the game 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles. Efren Navarro was just 1-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and a double.
STREAKING: Matt Long singled on a ground ball in his first at bat Saturday night, and now has hit safely in 10 straight games for Salt Lake.
D'OH: Salt Lake was enjoying eight consecutive games at Spring Mobile Ballpark with a home run, but that came to a screeching halt in the loss Saturday night.
ATTENDANCE: Saturday night's game saw 11,228 fans crowd the ballpark for a night of baseball, dueling pianos and fireworks on the holiday weekend.