Cal Raleigh discusses his hot hitting, working with Mariners pitching, more

Jul 2, 2022, 12:18 PM

Mariners Cal Raleigh...

Cal Raleigh scores a run after a throwing error by the Oakland Athletics on June 30, 2022. (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

(Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

It took a bit for young Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh to click at the plate, but he was arguably the team’s hottest bat in the month of June.

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After hitting just .136 between April and May – which included a demotion to Triple-A Tacoma – Raleigh was an incredibly tough out in June, slashing .250/.337/.588 (.925 OPS) with six home runs, seven doubles, a triple and 14 RBIs in 25 games. It was one of the most productive months of hitting by any Mariners catcher in club history and he led the M’s in slugging and OPS in June.

Raleigh discussed his big month of June, working with Mariners pitchers and much more in a Friday interview with Wyman and Bob on Seattle Sports 710 AM.

Hot streak

“I don’t know if there’s one specific kind of thing,” Raleigh said when asked what clicked for him in June. “I mean, obviously just working every day and finding something that works for me, trying to get my foot down, get ready to hit the fastball. Kind of simple. Everybody wants super profound answers and like a very descriptive (idea) of what it was, and it’s just, honestly, if you keep it simple, it’s better for me. So I was just trying to get my foot down and trying to hit a fastball and it just took off and it started started helping me out.”

That triple

Raleigh picked up two more extra-base hits in the Mariners’ 8-6 win on Thursday, including his first MLB triple.

Not only did Raleigh get his first three-bagger, but he wound up scoring on the play after the ball was thrown away as he slid into third.

Raleigh was seen getting fanned by a towel in the dugout after the play, and he joked that the trip around the bases wiped him out.

“It took me a few innings to recover for sure. I hadn’t moved that much in a while,” he said. “It was cool though.”

Raleigh did require some assistance from new Mariners teammate Carlos Santana after he’d slid into home plate, though.

“When I slid I was like, ‘I’m gonna get up’ and my legs were like, ‘Nope,'” he said. “I looked at Carlos and he came and got me, thankfully.”

Working with pitchers

Obviously being a starting MLB catcher, Raleigh works extensively with Mariners pitchers. He made it clear how important the pitcher-catcher communication is, especially because of how long the season is.

“Every guy’s different. Some guys are more aggressive or like to talk and some guys are a little more laid back while some guys are different and need a kick in the butt. Some guys need a little pat on the back,” he said. “So just knowing what guys need what and talking (to them), I think that’s the biggest thing is just communicating and knowing what they need, (letting them know) what you need and what the team needs to get on the same page and get them through games and put their best foot forward.”

When looking at the Mariners’ five-man starting rotation, Raleigh said that’s a group of five guys who are really intense.

“I tell you what, all five of those guys when they’re in the middle of a game, they’ve got some dog in them. They’re pretty intense,” Raleigh said. “They’re guys you don’t want to mess around with. They’re different on non-start days. Obviously they’re a little more relaxed and joking around and having a good time with each other. But every single one of them are just as intense, and it’s impressive to see.”

One starter who Gilbert knows very well is Logan Gilbert. Both Gilbert and Raleigh were early-round draft picks of the Mariners in 2018 and were regularly paired together in the minors. Now the two are contributing to the Mariners at the highest level, and Gilbert especially is having a great season and may be heading to the All-Star Game.

Gilbert’s increase in velocity in 2022 has certainly been noticeable to Raleigh.

“Logan’s not fun to catch – and I say that, (but he’s really) great to catch and I love catching him – but I had to put a pad in my glove because of him because he he was throwing so hard and he was starting to hurt my hand a little bit,” Raleigh said.

Speaking of Gilbert’s velocity, the young right hander hit 100 mph for the first time in his MLB career. Raleigh had a fun story about that as well.

“If you look back at the video, I gave him a little thumbs up,” Raleigh said. “It wasn’t because it was a good pitch or anything — it was — but because he hit 100  because we had a running joke (of me telling him), ‘You can’t hit 100. You can’t do it,’ and I would constantly tell him that because he hit 99 a bunch. And he finally did it last night. It was cool.”

Listen to the full interview, which includes some thoughts on last Sunday’s benches-clearing incident with the Angels, at this link or in the player below.

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