After a three-hit game on Wednesday in Kansas City and with four hits over his last six at-bats, Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds hopes he is on the verge of a hot streak at the plate.
"I had a pretty good stretch for a couple of games in K.C.," Reynolds said today in the Orioles' clubhouse. "Some times that is all it takes. Get a couple hits and get that snowball effect going. Hope I can keep it up and start driving the ball. I am seeing pitches better and squaring some stuff up. I want to do what they brought me here to do."
Reynolds' three-hit game two days ago was his first multi-hit game since April 13 against New York. He went 7-for-71 (.113) in the 18 games in between. He said any slump can be mentally tough for a player.
"For any player that is struggling, it's always mental," Reynolds said. "We all have the ability to be here. You have to try and block all the negative stuff out and stay positive with your approach."
Reynolds said he didn't really think there would be a big adjustment in moving to the American League. But now, he said, there might be something to that.
"There is some truth to it. All the guys in the National League, I could tell you what they would try to do to get me out. Here, it's a new learning curve. The more games I play the more comfortable I should feel," he added.
He said he can watch plenty of video to learn about the new pitchers he will face, but it still provides a better education on those hurlers when you actually get in the box against them.
Tonight, he and the Orioles face a pitcher in Tampa's James Shields that is fourth in the AL in ERA. Shields is 2-1 with an ERA of 2.14. He has given up just two runs in 26 innings over his past three starts. But his one loss was versus the Orioles.
"We got him in that first series of the year," Reynolds said. "I know they are playing better and they are a different team now. We have to try and get his pitch count up early and swing at strikes."
Reynolds is now batting .198 with three homers and his 15 RBIs is fourth on the club. He is batting .273 when hitting with runners in scoring position. He was asked if he can tell when he might be in the early stages of getting a hot streak going at the plate.
"You never really know," he said. "I can tell you I feel a lot better at the plate. I needed those games in Kansas City to get me going a little bit. Hopefully, I'm on the verge of one of those couple of weeks where I just go on a tear. After that, I will try to not get so low on the roller coaster and keep my confidence on an even level."