ANAHEIM -- The difference in Royals left fielder Alex Gordon's offense over the last two weeks has been remarkable, especially when one considers his dreadful start to 2017.As recently as June 2, Gordon sat at .172 with no home runs and nine RBIs. He hadn't even hit a double in
ANAHEIM -- The difference in Royals left fielder Alex Gordon's offense over the last two weeks has been remarkable, especially when one considers his dreadful start to 2017.
As recently as June 2, Gordon sat at .172 with no home runs and nine RBIs. He hadn't even hit a double in almost a month, slugging at .202 overall.
That's when Royals batting coach Dale Sveum suggested to Gordon that part of the reason he wasn't making consistent contact or driving the ball was he had no power base. Gordon simply wasn't loading his back hip and leg.
"You have to go back to go forward, at least with any power," Sveum said. "He was getting to his front side with no power behind his swing."
Through several drills, Gordon began committing to the new approach.
The results were almost immediate. In his last nine games before Friday, Gordon is hitting .313 while slugging at .719. He has four doubles and three home runs in that span. He simply is Alex Gordon again.
Gordon, though, rarely likes to talk about hitting mechanics, at least not publicly.
"I'm just trying to put the work in and try to keep my head up," Gordon said. "Obviously, when you're going to go through your struggles in baseball sometimes, you just try to find a way out of it.
"We've been working with Dale, trying to get a better load with my approach and hit the ball with more power. I'm trying to work on it every day."
The results have pleased everyone from manager Ned Yost to Sveum.
"[Not loading] has been a little bit of an issue for a while for him," Sveum said. "So now it's just committing to that and installing it. I think it had been the source of some problems. He's kind of a rotational guy anyway, and then when you don't load, you just sort of spin out."
Sveum has been around too long to proclaim anyone, including Gordon, "fixed."
"It's a game of constant adjustments," Sveum said. "But the one thing you know about Alex is that he is going to put the work in."
Gordon might even have another secret weapon: Espressos.
Peter Moylan recently introduced Gordon and several other Royals to drinks from an espresso machine Moylan purchased for the Kauffman Stadium clubhouse. Moylan recently opened an espresso and breakfast cafe near his home in West Melbourne, Australia.
Gordon fell in love with Moylan's espresso concoctions and bought an espresso machine for the club to use on the road.
Gordon, a mild coffee drinker previously, now admits he loves espressos and has one right before every game.
Does the caffeine jolt last the whole game?
"I think so," Gordon said, shrugging his shoulders. "Maybe that's what's helping me."
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.