CLEVELAND: There’s nothing fun about going 0-for-24, but Casey Kotchman’s skid is over.
He snapped the streak with a single in the seventh inning Friday night, when the Indians beat the Angels, 3-2. Better yet, from Kotchman’s perspective, the hit was part of a rally.
“At least I was able to score a run,” he said.
There is no magic formula for avoiding or stopping slumps.
“Your objective is the same, whether you’re hitting or not hitting,” Kotchman said. “It’s the same [approach] every time you go to the plate. That doesn’t change. But baseball can be very humbling. Life can be very humbling.”
Kotchman has been around long enough to understand that winning mitigates the pain of going through a rough two weeks or two months.
“You know it’s a long season, and we’re winning,” he said. “That softens the blow. It would have been awful if we hadn’t been winning on that nine-game trip. Who cares if you get three hits in a game if the team is 1-8?”
Kotchman conceded that it’s difficult to leave the slump at the ballpark when you go home.
“It’s hard to just turn it off when you go home; I want to excel,” he said. “If this was July and I already had a couple of hundred at-bats, it wouldn’t be as noticeable. But everything that happens early in the season is really magnified.”
Vulnerable to streaks
Because Kotchman produces lots of ground balls, he might be more vulnerable to hitless streaks. Either a ground ball finds a hole or it doesn’t, although the batter can help by striking the ball with more authority.
Of Kotchman’s 67 at-bats, 30 have ended in ground ball outs. Three of those bouncers turned into double plays. He was robbed of two hits by excellent defensive plays.
He probably was helped last year playing home games at Tropicana Field, which is covered with Field Turf. The surface is not rock hard like the old AstroTurf fields, but it’s not as forgiving as Progressive Field’s grass. Kotchman compiled his career high batting average (.306) in his only season with the Rays.
Kotchman doesn’t have to worry about another hitless streak, at least not for awhile. He singled in the seventh inning Sunday.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sports.abj.