Orioles infielder/outfielder Terrin Vavra's bat has started to heat up again, just as it did when he first got to the majors and went 6-for-13, batting .462 to start to his big league career.
Nothing to it, right?
Of course, we know that is not true. And while Vavra looks solid and comfortable again at the plate, for about a month starting in early August he was struggling, and not playing very much. Then he left the team briefly on paternity leave.
Over an 18-game stretch he was just 6-for-37 (.162).
“That was a big learning stage for me,” Vavra said before Thursday’s game. “It was easy to get frustrated right away. You know, when you are not getting opportunities, it’s not the easiest to get back into a rhythm, so you kind of have to create that. Luckily, we have some great guys in this clubhouse that helped me with that, as well as some great hitting coaches. Just try to a find a routine and build rhythm with that, so when you do get your chance you can, hopefully, feel more comfortable at the plate.”
And now Vavra is swinging a solid bat again, with six hits his last 14 at-bats after going 1-for-3 in last night's win
He said that, during some of the ups and downs, he got some sound advice from several within the clubhouse.
“Just to not live and die with each at-bat when the opportunities did come. Not to live and die with each moment," Vavra said. "Take each moment for what it is and try to learn from it. If that means positive results for you, that’s great. But ultimately, it’s about what the team is able to put out there.”
Vavra’s been getting great support and advice on his baseball career for a long time due to his strong family background in the game.
His dad, Joe, was hitting coach for the Minnesota Twins for much of his time there between 2006-2017, and also worked for the Detroit Tigers. Two older brothers, Tanner and Trey, were late-round draft picks who played pro ball and are now college coaches.
When his bat cooled a bit, Vavra could talk to his dad for support as any player might, but this father had more major league hitting expertise than most.
“He’s been huge in helping me get here and it continues for me since being at this level, a level he was at for a long time. Yeah, he’s seen people in the same situation.”
But Vavra said his dad knows he’s not his coach now, and while his father is always there to support him, Joe Vavra doesn’t look to critique his every at-bat each night.
“My dad has been very helpful in getting me where I’m at, without a doubt. Wouldn’t be here without him," the younger Vavra said. "But as far as any mechanical adjustments with my swing, we don’t talk too much about it. We know I have a pretty good foundation, with a lot of thanks to him for that. But as far as adjustments, he’s never been one to try and manipulate my swing or get me to change. Same with the guys here. They are more so. They want me to be in the best position to hit, physically, but also mentally. That’s a big thing at this level, making those mental adjustments as well.”
Vavra worked with O’s co-hitting coach Ryan Fuller last year at Double-A Bowie and enjoys working with him now in the big leagues.
“He is always willing to work for you,” Vavra said of Fuller. “Anything you ask for, he’s going to bend over backwards for you. That is what makes him so invested. He’s as trustworthy as they come, and you can go to him with anything. Bring up any point, ask any question and he’s going to answer it very thoroughly. And continue to help you develop. And that’s both of our guys there (including co-hitting coach Matt Borgschulte). They’ve been great and they complement each other very nicely.”
Bradish leads O's to win: For the second time late this season, O's right-hander Kyle Bradish threw a scoreless start versus Houston. It was eight innings in Houston and 8 2/3 last night.
Bradish threw a gem over 100 pitches as the Orioles blanked Houston 2-0 at Camden Yards. Bradish has thrown 16 2/3 scoreless against Houston, allowing just four hits.
Since Bradish returned from the injured list in late July, he is 3-3 with a 2.67 ERA over 11 games, and the Orioles are 8-3 in those games.
The Orioles are now 3-1 against Houston, allowing just four runs in those four games. And O's starting pitchers in those games have an ERA of 0.59, allowing two runs over 30 1/3 innings.
The Orioles now have 14 shutouts this year, their most since recording 16 in 1992.