Going into the series finale in Milwaukee on Sunday, Juan Soto was in a 2 for 20 (.100/.280/.150) slump of sorts over his previous six games following an 0 for 3 with a walk night in Saturday’s loss to the Brewers.
“I’ve been feeling kind of weird,” Soto told reporters when he spoke after the game, as quoted by MLB.com’s Jessica Camerato.
“I’ve been working a lot on my swing, trying to figure out what’s going on. It’s pretty tough to get back [to] where I was. I’ve been watching my videos and all that stuff, but it is what it is. Right now, I’ve just been up and down. Sometimes I feel good, sometimes I feel weird. But it is what it is.”
Davey Martinez said following the second consecutive loss in Wisconsin he wanted to see Soto get back to the basics, staying up the middle, taking his walks, and not chasing, and not pressing to make things happen.
“Yeah, I mean ... a couple balls today he got out of it a little bit,” Martinez said, when asked if it was weird to talk about Soto chasing pitches out of the strike zone, “but like I said, think about it as a whole, when the team’s not scoring, there’s times where you feel like you have to do a little bit more... we don’t. Just I tell the guys every day, ‘I just need you guys to be yourselves. Don’t try to drive in five runs in one swings because it’s not going to happen. Just take your walks, get the ball in the strike zone, and get ready to hit and put a good swing on it.”
“Just try to forget about the results and keep it simple and keep it in one way, try to play baseball, try to enjoy it and see what’s going on,” Soto added.
Martinez said you can often see Soto get dialed in as games go along and he gets a good idea of what opposing pitchers are trying to do to him.
“I think once he goes through like the first time at bat, and he starts watching the pitcher, because Juan sits there and he watches the guy pitch, watches them face different hitters, he understands,” Martinez explained. “So I think once he gets through that first and he tries to figure out what they’re trying to do to him, they have pitched him differently. He’s been getting a lot more, a lot more breaking balls, and a lot more fastballs outside the zone, and he’s got to make those adjustments, but like I’ve said, he’s one of the smartest young hitters that I’ve ever met, and he does make those adjustments. I thought yesterday, like I said, he had some good at-bats. He lined out on a changeup, where he hasn’t done that in a while, he worked a good walk. So I told him, ‘You got to continue to go out there and take your walks and have good at-bats.’ The one thing I emphasized again is just using the whole field, start hitting the ball to left-center field.”
Martinez moved Soto from the No. 2 spot in the lineup to No. 3 on Sunday, hoping to get at-bats with more runners on in front of him, moving Keibert Ruiz up to second while he’s on a strong run at the plate. Both hitters were up for the move.
“I talked to them both before I did it and they both accepted it very well,” Martinez said. “Keibert said, ‘I’ll do whatever,’ and Juan says, ‘Yeah, let’s do it, let’s go for it.’ And I like — Keibert, after looking at it — the way that he’s walking, the way he’s putting the ball in play, give him a chance to go up there. We know that he’s not going to run in front of Juan, so hopefully he gets on base for him.”
How did Martinez line them up for the first of three with the Dodgers in D.C.? Let’s see...