Arizona’s Goldschmidt has week to remember after month-long hitting skid
PHOENIX – Despite being mired in perhaps the worst cold streak of his illustrious career, in which five-time All-Star Paul Goldschmidt hit .144 with 35 strikeouts against just three home runs in May, Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said, “He always had his foot on the gas pedal with the mindset like ‘Today is the day. It’s going to happen today.’”
That day (or, more appropriately, days) occurred during the latest six-game road trip against the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies. Goldschmidt put together arguably the best week of his MLB tenure with the bat.
He hit an absurd .640 with four home runs, six doubles, 11 RBI and 10 runs scored en route to just the second National League Player of the Week honor of his career.
“I’ve probably never had a five-, six-game stretch like I had last week,” Goldschmidt said.
For the Diamondbacks, he was once again the slugger and run producer they know he can be when he’s at his best.
“Paul’s had a great week. Last couple of weeks, actually,” infielder Daniel Descalso said. “That’s the Goldy we’re used to seeing around here.”
During Goldschmidt’s month-long doldrums at the dish, Descalso said his teammate continued to work hard and prepare the same way he always does despite not getting the usual results.
“I’m sure he’s gone through some rough stretches before, but I don’t think anything as long as that,” Descalso said. “With a guy with his track record, you knew that at some point he was going to figure a way out of that. He’s just too good. He’s done it for too long to not figure it out.”
Lovullo echoed the statement from Descalso, saying that it was only a matter of time before Arizona’s star player started to get rewarded following a cold stretch his manager said he’d “never experienced” before.
“It was the internal belief that it was going to happen. We all felt that way about Paul. We felt strongly that the track record would lead him down this road,” Lovullo said.
The Diamondbacks manager added that the time Goldschmidt spent alone with hitting coaches to study the minutia of hitting got him back “into that good swing mode.”
Instead of worrying about simply making contact in the batter’s box, Lovullo said Goldschmidt focused more on swinging the bat with confidence and trusting that he’d barrel up pitches in the zone.
“The storm was coming,” Lovullo said. “Somebody was going to have to pay.”
Goldschmidt’s exploits at the plate resulted in a 4-2 record on the road trip, including an important three-game sweep of the Rockies to stay atop the National League West standings. Goldschmidt hit more home runs in two games at Coors Field (four) than he had in the entire month of May.
Lovullo said that when Goldschmidt was struggling to get the results he’s been able to deliver consistently throughout his career, he felt partly responsible for the sputtering offense that followed suit and caused the Diamondbacks to post a vastly disappointing 8-19 record in May.
“I think that’s what he was feeling through those lean times, that he might have been responsible for what was going on around him,” Lovullo said.
But Goldschmidt’s manager made the point that the Diamondbacks are different team when he’s hitting the ball for power and average.
“He’s definitely the catalyst of this team,” Lovullo said. “When he’s hitting, the rest of the guys around him he seems to pick up and drive along, too.”
At the end of May, Goldschmidt’s batting average sat a tad over the Mendoza Line at .209. For games played through June 11, he’s now up to .253.
Although Goldschmidt said he planned to enjoy his recent hot streak, he remained predictably humble in assessing what it means moving forward.
“It doesn’t mean it’s going to continue, so you have to keep preparing,” he said.