LOS ANGELES -- Sometimes, a struggling hitter trying to find results at the plate can be a chicken and the egg problem. Comfort could lead to success or success could lead to comfort.It's still not entirely clear which answer Josh Reddick found first, but it has been quite apparent over
LOS ANGELES -- Sometimes, a struggling hitter trying to find results at the plate can be a chicken and the egg problem. Comfort could lead to success or success could lead to comfort.
It's still not entirely clear which answer Josh Reddick found first, but it has been quite apparent over the last six games that both comfort and success are beginning to find him, the latest evidence being his multihit game in the Dodgers' 5-2 win on Tuesday.
Reddick is now on a six-game hitting streak, a span that includes a .500 batting average and his first homer as a Dodger on Saturday.
"He's started to finally get comfortable," manager Dave Roberts said. "Even his batting practices are better. A new, changing environment, he might not admit to it, but there was a little pressing going on. It helps when other guys around you are swinging the bats well. Now, he's starting to simplify and putting that barrel to the baseball."
Reddick languished in his first 23 games after being acquired at the Trade Deadline on Aug. 1. His line over those games came in at .139/.200/.152 in 85 plate appearances. He didn't just go homerless, he didn't have a single RBI.
That line was a far cry from his track record prior to joining the Dodgers along with Rich Hill for three prospects. He had been hitting .296/.368/.449 with Oakland and was seen as an offensive upgrade in right field. Reddick's solution to the slump was to not change a thing.
"Just keep working; that's the thing," Reddick said. "I always said that I was going to come out of it and you just got to keep working through it; that's how this game works. It's not about overworking or underworking; it's just about sticking with your routine and getting good pitches to hit, like I've been doing the whole time. They're just finding holes now."
Not changing a thing has been a frequent solution to a slow start for the Dodgers this season. Howie Kendrick put up a .445 OPS in his first 23 games and has a .790 mark since. Yasmani Grandal and Justin Turner are both carrying OPSs above .900 since July 1 after slow starts to their season. It's a familiar story to Roberts and one he is seeing play out again.
"When he's hitting that pull-side gap like he's doing, then I know the swing is right," Roberst said of Reddick. "He's running counts like his career says he does. He sees pitches. Josh, throughout his career, takes balls and swings at strikes. He's a plus defender, and to have him in the lineup just continues to add to that length."
Reddick still won't see the lineup often against left-handed starters, especially with the return of Yasiel Puig, but he can at least use that time to acquaint himself with his new surroundings.
"Coming in here, these guys did a great job of welcoming me in, but I still felt kind of out of place," Reddick said. "One, because I wasn't contributing right away and it's still tough. I'm still trying to learn new guys. We're in September and the clubhouse is pretty much full, so I'm trying to learn a lot of new guys and still learning new things about certain guys."
Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.