CLEVELAND -- For a six-game stretch from May 9-16, Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez was in a 3-for-26 (.115) funk with one walk and 10 strikeouts. Extended slumps were part of Suarez's resume in 2016 during his first season as a regular in a big league lineup.This particular slump lasted
CLEVELAND -- For a six-game stretch from May 9-16, Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez was in a 3-for-26 (.115) funk with one walk and 10 strikeouts. Extended slumps were part of Suarez's resume in 2016 during his first season as a regular in a big league lineup.
This particular slump lasted just the one week, however. What did Suarez change at the plate to get out of it? Nothing.
"I looked at what I did in the beginning of the season, about three weeks or a month ago, and I studied it again -- my routine, my mental process in a game," Suarez said on Wednesday. "When you're in trouble, it's more mental than mechanical. I knew it wasn't my swing. You start thinking about how they're pitching and you try to find something, and you're wrong. I stuck with my setup and approach, and the results are in the game."
Entering Wednesday, Suarez has gone 9-for-23 (.391) with three doubles, three homers and five runs over the past seven games. He came in batting .302/.378/.566 with 10 homers and 30 RBIs overall.
In Tuesday's 8-7 loss to the Indians, Suarez notched the first pinch-hit homer of his career -- a game-tying three-run shot to right-center field.
"We try to stay on topic with chasing the process and going through what you need to do to be a consistent ballplayer," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "I see an adjustment like that is chasing the process, it's not chasing the hits or the batting average or the home runs. It's chasing a process that will lead to more consistency. And that's maturity."
Suarez, 25, has taken a page from teammate Joey Votto's two-strike approach this season, and it worked for him on Tuesday. On a 3-2 count, Suarez choked up on the bat and shortened his swing, driving the ball to the opposite field.
"They throw me a lot of sinkers, and [I] tried to find out how to hit that ball," Suarez said. "When they throw them 93-94, it's hard to hit. Now I just take them and if I swing, I must choke up on the bat and try to shorten my swing and put the ball in play."
Votto has been there as a veteran example and occasional adviser to Suarez. Not only has Suarez made upgrades as a hitter, his defense has also jumped several notches.
"Every aspect of his game has gotten better," Votto said. "I think it's a combination of experience, but I also saw it with Todd Frazier. There's a point in a player's career where they say to themselves, 'This is what I want to be, and I'm going to do exactly what I need to do to get to that point.' I saw Frazier turn the corner and become an All-Star and a fantastic overall player. I'm seeing it with Eugenio."
• Reds pitcher Homer Bailey (right elbow) pitched an inning in a simulated game on Wednesday at extended spring camp in Arizona.
"I got an email from [coach] Tony Fossas," Price said. "He threw very well. The delivery looked good, and they're happy with his overall outing."
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.