Jazz ends HR drought; Poteet K's 6 in 3 IP
MIAMI -- Hours before snapping a homerless drought in Thursday night's 7-3 Marlins loss to the Nationals at loanDepot park, Jazz Chisholm Jr. took early batting practice under the tutelage of the coaching staff. He worked on staying through the ball, crediting teammate Miguel Rojas for recommending the adjustment to the 23-year-old rookie.
Chisholm, who last went deep on June 10 against the Rockies, had gone 7-for-43 (.163) with one double, four walks and 13 strikeouts during that 11-game stretch. His corrected approach was evident when he led off the first with a single to center field against Joe Ross. Chisholm later deposited an offering from Justin Miller over the right-center wall for a three-run shot in the eighth.
"I don't really think about the home run drought or anything," Chisholm said. "I just think about more, basically, how am I getting my hits? And if I am, what am I doing with it? Am I going the other way? Am I going to right field? Going to center field? On the ground? In the air? So lately, I've been hitting a lot of ground balls. Even when I square it up, it's on the ground, and that's why I was basically saying like I wasn't getting the ball in the air. So tonight, we got the ball a little bit up."
During Wednesday's BP, Chisholm listed off his recent trends at the plate. When he started beating the shift on the left side of the infield on the last homestand, teams played him straight up. As a result, Chisholm began rolling grounders over to second base and pulling the ball more than usual. From June 12 through Wednesday’s finale against the Blue Jays, Chisholm put the ball on the ground 20 times -- three for hits and seven to second base. His ground ball percentage of 74.1 -- the highest among Marlins regulars -- led to a .125 average with just one extra-base hit.
Miami, which finds itself last in the National League East, has scored five runs during a four-game skid, while Washington continues to surge in the standings having won 10 of 11. Chisholm rediscovering his swing is encouraging for a scuffling lineup missing three regulars in Brian Anderson, Corey Dickerson and Garrett Cooper.
"I think he's pretty confident, is what I really think," manager Don Mattingly said. "I think he's a guy that believes in himself, believes he can hit. Nothing really deters him from the fact of an 0-fer or a couple of 0-fers together. He worries about it, I think, like everybody. Everybody does. But he's pretty confident. His work's been pretty good.
"I think you can always improve as far as just the focus on it. I think adjustments for him are in general pretty good. I think the biggest thing is he's confident, and he's not going to let one or two bad games determine thinking he can play. That's the good thing. Extremely talented kid. The better his work gets, the more consistent it gets, the more defined it gets, better he's going to be."
The Marlins couldn't overcome a second straight short start from Cody Poteet. He surrendered a pair of homers to red-hot Kyle Schwarber, who has gone deep eight times in five games, in their first two matchups. Poteet was done after three innings, having given up five runs on six hits with four walks and six strikeouts.
Since returning from the injured list with a sprained right MCL, Poteet has not looked like the same reliable arm that helped solidify the back end of the starting staff. He has allowed seven runs on nine hits, with eight walks and 11 strikeouts in two starts (6 2/3 IP). Through his first three career starts, Poteet had a 1.06 ERA in 17 innings, with 13 strikeouts and two walks.
“Just focusing in on executing all my pitches,” Poteet said. “Been struggling at times to get ahead of hitters, and so just honing my pitches in throughout the side work for next outing.”