Blash's tear is hard to ignore

July 18th, 2017

DENVER -- It's far too soon to draw any conclusions from 's numbers since his Friday callup. But they're certainly impressive.
The hulking right fielder is 6-for-15 with a pair of doubles and a pair of home runs since returning from Triple-A El Paso. One of those homers came in the second inning of Monday's 9-6 loss to the Rockies, a two-run shot beyond the right-center field bullpens at Coors Field.
The Padres aren't naive enough to make any snap judgments after four games. But his recent success certainly passes their eye test.
"From when he was up previously, his body's in a better position, his swing's shorter," said Padres manager Andy Green. "He's having good at-bats. He's on a lot of pitches.
"He's always had the eye. He's always had the plate discipline. So that stuff's all going to play into his favor now that his swing's a little bit shorter."

Indeed, the shorter swing was something Blash has worked to hone with hitting coach Alan Zinter and bench coach Mark McGwire since Spring Training. Blash, the thinking goes, doesn't need a max-effort swing to create pop. As long as he's squaring up the baseball, his raw power should do the rest.
"Selective but aggressive," Blash said of his newfound approach. "... You really don't get many [pitches to hit] up here in the big leagues, so you really have to capitalize on that one pitch."
Blash capitalized emphatically against on Monday night. He took a 1-1 fastball and drove it just to the right of the center-field batters' eye, halfway up the wall behind the Padres' bullpen.
For Blash, his recent success is merely an extension of his production in El Paso over the past month. He had posted a 1.111 OPS since the start of June, with 13 homers in 34 games.
"I'm on time most of the time," Blash said. "And I'm not swinging at balls. So that's where I take the positive."

There's a comfort level, too, for Blash, who played only sporadically in his previous big league stints. His career average was .150 when the Padres demoted him in May. But he had recorded just 100 Major League at-bats in 132 days of big league service time.
Blash's four games since the All-Star break mark the first time he's been handed four straight Major League starts. Thanks to a few mechanical adjustments, he's made the most of them.
Now, as always, it's a matter of sustaining that success.
"You could see the visible changes," Green said. "I think he's settling in. But he's going to have to continue to fight. It's a tough game at the Major League level. They find holes, and they'll expose them."