Reynolds aims for better on-base percentage
ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals first baseman Mark Reynolds may not be on pace for an eighth straight 20-homer season, but he has adopted tweaks to his swing that have allowed him to get on base with more regularity.
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The tradeoff of power for an uptick in on-base percentage came out of Reynolds' preseason preparation for a part-time role. Long known for his power swing and high strikeout totals, Reynolds wanted to become less all-or-nothing with his results. He's stuck with the approach even upon returning to an everyday role upon Matt Adams' injury.
The results have been as expected. Reynolds entered Sunday with a higher batting average (.258) and on-base percentage (.329) than his average career marks in both categories. His slugging percentage of .391 is lower than any he's posted in eight previous Major League seasons. But he's OK with that.
"I like looking up at the scoreboard and [seeing that I'm] not hitting .190," said Reynolds, who batted .196 over 433 plate appearances with Milwaukee a year ago. "It's more about just putting balls in play ... The homers will come and normally come in bunches. Hopefully [Saturday's blast against the Royals] will kind of kick start me a little bit. I like singles, too."
Reynolds, one of six players to have hit 20 homers in each of the last seven seasons, has just four in 151 at-bats this year. He came into the season averaging a home run every 17 at-bats. Reynolds' power has manifested itself in more doubles, though, as he is just one away from matching his 2014 total of nine.
"I'm just trying to put more balls in play and see what happens," he said. "I kind of pick my spots when I want to open up and try to pull the ball. When everybody is throwing 97 [mph] with cutters these days, you have to make adjustments. Right now, that's what I've been doing."
Surprisingly, though, Reynolds' new approach has not curtailed his strikeouts. With his 50th K on Saturday, Reynolds is averaging one every 3.34 plate appearances. Last year, he struck out at an average of once every 3.55 plate appearances.
• In celebration of the 30th anniversary of their meeting in the 1985 World Series, the Cardinals and Royals had planned to wear throwback 80's uniforms for Sunday's game that was rained out. The Cardinals' throwback jerseys featured an arm patch celebrating the organization's 1985 National League Championship.
• Asked if Tyler Lyons would start again in five days, manager Mike Matheny said, "That's the way we're leaning right now." Due to the rainout, that would put Lyons in line to face the Phillies on Friday. The Cardinals telegraphed the decision by not making a roster move prior to Sunday's game.