Trea Turner was in a rut. He had just four hits in the first five games on the Nationals’ current homestand, but he connected for four in five at bats last night, in Washington’s 8-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“I felt pretty bad for the last, I don’t know, 3-4-5 weeks, or whatever it may be,” Turner said in a post game Zoom call after last night’s win, “... just not really driving the ball, I’m surviving getting hits here or there, but I feel like yesterday I made some of the right adjustments. I feel like I’m in the right direction. Today was pretty good, but got lucky at the same time, so got to keep going, continue to get in the cage and work, and try to be a little bit more consistent, but I think we’re headed in the right direction, I feel a little bit better the last few days than I did for like the last month.”
Turner has hit .282 over the last month, when he said he’s been struggling, so some players out there would likely take that, but Turner, who was hitting .329 in the middle of May, went into last night’s game with a .298 AVG on the year (which, yeah, still pretty good). But never one to settle for good, the 27-year-old shortstop was hard at work behind the scenes trying to turn things around.
Reporters in the nation’s capital noticed he was out on the field early taking some extra BP on Monday, the day he said he started to make some of the right adjustments.
What was he working on in that BP session?
“Just finding — kind of what I was talking about, finding the right adjustment, and then being able to feel it.
“You know I don’t like hitting BP on the field because I feel like I just try to hit home runs and then I create bad habits, so I would say 95% of the time I don’t hit BP on the field, I do a lot of my work in the cage, so I think that better prepares me, but sometimes I feel like you need to get on the field and figure out how to drive the ball correctly, and in the cage you can think you hit a homer or think you drove the ball, but when you get on the field you can kind of see the flight of the ball. So for me it was just getting out on the field and being able to get 40-50 swings as opposed to rounds of five and getting out of the cage.
It was just more work early and just kind find the correction that I wanted. So, just like I said, just putting in the work and trying to feel comfortable.”
One thing that has been missing from his game over the last month-plus, has been home runs. Turner hit 10 in his first 37 games this season, but he’s now gone 27 games, with 121 plate appearances without hitting one out. What’s going on with his power? Mechanical?
“For me I think it’s always mechanical,” Turner said. “I think when I do things mechanically correct, I feel like I see the ball better and I have a better approach, I can trust myself better. So for me I think it’s always mechanical, I know that’s not necessarily how other people think, but it may look like I’m trying to do too much here or there, this or that, but I feel like when I’m mechanically sound, and feel like I’m in a good spot, I can trust myself and have better at bats.
“Watch a ton of video and you think you find something and you try to do it and it doesn’t work out, or maybe that’s not it, and the next day you move on, so sometimes you find it right away, sometimes it takes a little bit longer, but I felt like this time it took a little while to kind of feel comfortable or feel what I needed to.”
Turner’s four-hit game last night left him with a .308/.352/.473 line overall on the season.
Will he get back to hitting homers next?