Supported during slump, LoMo rewards Rays' faith

May 26th, 2016

ST. PETERSBURG -- When the Rays started their eight-game, three-city road trip on May 16, Logan Morrison was hitting .119. He didn't have any home runs. He didn't have a single RBI in 85 at-bats.

Since then, Morrison has figured it out. He's gone 15 for his last 27 at the plate, and connected on three home runs. The latest came in Tampa Bay's 4-3 loss to Miami at Tropicana Field on Wednesday evening.

"I'm swinging at good pitches. I'm not missing them," Morrison said. "I think when anyone goes through a prolonged slump, it's got to be a combination of things. To focus just on the process of getting a good pitch to hit and putting the barrel on it, simplifies it for me."

The red-hot first baseman finished his night going 3-for-4 with a long home run to right field. He drove in all three Rays runs and did his best to make up for what was an otherwise lackluster offensive night for Tampa Bay. He raised his average to .225, but it wasn't enough against his former team.

Morrison is certainly seeing the fruits of an effort to not swing at poor pitches.

"He started laying off some," manager Kevin Cash said. "When he was going through that rough first stretch, he was expanding quite a bit. He got a little more disciplined at the plate and selective. Now, everything he's swinging at, he's putting right on the barrel."

Cash stood up for a beleaguered Morrison during his ineffective start to the season, preaching patience that his offense would come around. Morrison said once he started to struggle, he started to "press a little bit," and it only compounded the problem.

Hitting coach Derek Shelton showed Morrison charts of how he hits when the ball is up, compared to down in the zone. It helped him get a better understanding of his strengths. Morrison acknowledged he's been in situations where coaches haven't always been supportive during struggles, but that hasn't been the case during his short tenure with the Rays.

And now he's gotten the chance to prove them right.

"I'm extremely glad that [Cash] is my manager," Morrison said. "I'm extremely glad that I've been put in a place where they believe in me and they have my back. This game's really hard, if you don't feel like the coaches have your back, it's even harder."