CLEVELAND -- With power comes great responsibility. In Francisco Lindor's case, his responsibility right now for the Indians is to make sure that his increased power production does not get in the way of his ability to use the whole field.Heading into Saturday's 5-3 loss to the White Sox, Lindor
CLEVELAND -- With power comes great responsibility. In Francisco Lindor's case, his responsibility right now for the Indians is to make sure that his increased power production does not get in the way of his ability to use the whole field.
Heading into Saturday's 5-3 loss to the White Sox, Lindor led the Indians' qualified batters in home runs (12) and slugging percentage (.502), but the shortstop has veered away from what helped him hit for a higher average in the past. Indians manager Terry Francona said that Lindor's recent slump at the plate stems from becoming too pull happy in the batter's box.
Lindor went hitless in three at-bats with a walk on Saturday.
"I think what happened," Francona explained, "and I don't think by design, but I think he hit some balls out of the ballpark and he got a little bit more in pull mode."
During a recent pregame meeting with third-base coach and infield instructor Mike Sarbaugh, Lindor was going over the planned defensive alignments for various hitters in the Rockies' lineup. Francona said that Lindor then asked Sarbaugh if he could see how opposing teams were shifting their defense when the shortstop was batting.
Lindor saw that teams were playing him to pull the ball more than in the past two years.
"Frankie was like, 'Can you show me mine?'" Francona said. "And he did, and it was very pull oriented. Then, he showed him last year's, where he was using the whole field. And I think Frankie was like, 'Whoa, I've got to get back to [that].'"
Lindor stormed out of the gates this season, posting a .309 average and a 1.018 OPS in April. Dating back to May 1, however, the switch-hitting shortstop had a .229 average and a .688 OPS, entering Saturday. In that more recent period of time, pitchers have decreased the volume of offspeed pitches to Lindor and increased the number of fastballs, especially higher in the zone.
Lindor's job now is to adjust back to the pitchers.
"When you're trying to use the whole field, you have a much better chance of hitting all the pitches," Francona said. "I think the biggest thing is just reminding yourself. ... You feel good, and you start to go after pitches that need to be hit the other direction, and you still feel good enough where it's like, 'I can get that in the air.'
"And you get yourself in bad habits. That's kind of what happened. So, I think just the idea of being cognizant of it, and he's such a good hitter that, you watch, it'll work."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.