PITTSBURGH -- A few timely hits recorded over the course of a week does not completely erase a few months' worth of frustration. But Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson hopes his recent success has at least mentally positioned him to finish the season strong."You're not really looking at the past, you're
PITTSBURGH -- A few timely hits recorded over the course of a week does not completely erase a few months' worth of frustration. But Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson hopes his recent success has at least mentally positioned him to finish the season strong.
"You're not really looking at the past, you're just looking at the progress and the process," Swanson said. "It's always nice to get the reassurance from the work that is being put in. It's a good thing moving forward, but at the end of the day, tomorrow is a new day and you've got to come out and repeat it."
It will be hard for Swanson to duplicate what he did at PNC Park on Tuesday night, when he produced his first career multi-homer game in a 6-1 win over the Pirates. The Braves' shortstop has tallied four of his 12 homers within his past nine games.
"Hopefully, it continues," Braves manager Brian Snitker said.
Snitker's reservations about getting too excited are understood due to the short span of success for a player who has hit .234 with a .704 OPS since the start of June. But Swanson has made some mental adjustments and, more importantly, allowed himself to be more open to mechanical adjustments focused on his legs.
"I'm just conscious of being in my legs and having a good base," Swanson said. "Everything else kind of flows off that."
Pirates starting pitcher Ivan Nova blanked the Braves before making a mistake in the fifth inning by delivering a first-pitch inside fastball to Swanson, who lined the delivery over the left-field fence. The mechanical adjustments aimed toward improving weight transfer could allow him to create lift more consistently than he has over the past couple years.
But Nova's pitch and Michael Feliz's first-pitch slider that landed over the left-center-field wall in the seventh were delivered in the wheelhouse for Swanson, who has hit .286 with a .714 slugging percentage against pitches thrown on the inner third of the strike zone.
Swanson's extended offensive struggles, combined with a few recent defensive miscues, have led the Braves to discuss reducing his playing time and possibly moving third baseman Johan Camargo to shortstop.
But as Swanson has continued to fight to maintain his starting role, he has remained cognizant of the fact that he must remain aggressive at the plate and maintain a positive mindset.
"When you aren't going as good, you're obviously thinking a little bit," Swanson said. "But at the end of the day, when you start believing and trusting what you're doing up there, it allows you to go compete. At the end of the day, it's about competing and going and giving your best effort."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.