Luke Scott’s Struggles | The Process Report

Luke Scott’s Struggles

Luke Scott is no stranger to slumps. Last season he went through an 0-41 stint, during which he credited his religion with preventing him from a complete decline. Scott broke that slump with a home run on July 6, and then hit .296/.347/.546 the rest of the season.

Scott is again mired in a slump: He entered play today seven-for-his-last-57 with a .123/.190/.175 slash line to show for his efforts.

On the surface it appears telling that Scott sat against Ervin Santana, a pitcher he’s succeeded against in the past. It could be Joe Maddon doesn’t care for batter-pitcher matchups—especially over small samples—or that he wanted Evan Longoria to rest his legs. There’s something else worth considering, however, and that’s Scott’s struggles this season against right-handed pitching.

Entering the game Scott had 90 plate appearances against righties in 2013, and a .151/.289/.260 line. Surprisingly Scott’s success this season has come against left-handed pitchers, against which he’s hit .316/.357/.447 in 42 plate appearances. It’s not pitch selection, either. Scott is seeing plenty of fastballs both ways. He’s just doing more with the fastballs from same-handed pitchers.

If Scott is to get back on track he’ll need to overcome his to-date struggles against right-handed pitchers. This entails getting over the mental side of the game. Scott’s body language has deteriorated lately, as Tommy Rancel noted on Twitter. He’s often seen muttering to himself or making exasperated body language after striking the ball. These acts suggest he’s as frustrated with himself as fans are with him.

It’s easy to view Scott as the latest in a long line of failed DH or veteran hitters, and it’s possible that his days with the team are running short—especially if Wil Myers’ progress is accurately reflected in his numbers.  For now Scott is a member of the roster, and that means he cannot be easily hid. The hope is he’ll work his way out of this slump, just as he did last year. First he’ll have to work his way out of his head.

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