An epic slump like the one that has engulfed Brian Dozier for nearly two months might seem like a real-life horror movie to a lot of players. But the second baseman is the same determined, optimistic, affable teammate as ever, the Twins say, and there’s probably a reason for it: Dozier believes he knows how this movie ends.
“He has learned that his game … it can be a little hot and cold,” manager Paul Molitor said of the six-year veteran. “We always say, by the end of the year, the body of work always seems to be really good. So he trusts that it’s going to work out at the end.”
Of course, that doesn’t make the cold part any less annoying. In his past 50 games, Dozier is batting .191, and his on-base percentage is .272.
“Sometimes it can be something really small, what you’re looking for. You’re a tick late or you expand a little more than you should,” Molitor said. “Everybody knows that he’s been getting some pitches that he’s either fouling back or missing, that we were accustomed to seeing him do some damage.”
Molitor recently moved Dozier out of his normal leadoff spot, in hopes hitting with runners on might get him going.
Maybe it will. Or maybe the calendar will take care of it.
Dozier woke up Monday hitting .223 with 12 doubles and 10 homers. His OPS: .694. Exactly two years ago, his stats on the morning of June 18 were remarkably similar: a .227 average, 12 doubles and seven homers. His OPS: .694.
“My numbers are where they were before,” Dozier said. “It’s sort of been that way for three years.”
In 2016, Dozier turned his season around to an incredible extent. From June 18 on, he hit .293 with a record-setting 35 home runs, plus 23 doubles and five triples. His OPS: 1.004.
“I don’t let it affect me, because it’s not who I am. I’m not [just] a baseball player, that’s not my identity,” he said. “I’m just saying, I’m not too worried.”
This time, though, a contract might be at stake, since Dozier’s runs out in November, making him a free agent. But if that weighs on him, Molitor said, it doesn’t show.
“He’s still trying to be a leader out there,’’ Molitor said. ‘‘Your consistency, even if you’re not producing, is noticed by other players.”
Too many pitches
Jake Odorizzi knows he shouldn’t have to work this hard. Odorizzi threw 106 pitches Sunday, the fifth time in 2018 he has been in triple digits. He’s not completed six innings in any of those games.
“It’s not what you want. You want 1-2-3 innings as quick as possible,” he said. “It’s a lot of work.”
And it’s getting sort of routine. The righthander has thrown 90 or more pitches while completing five innings or fewer in seven of his 15 starts for the Twins; the rest of the staff has just 10 of those high-energy-low-results games.
The reason is obvious, Odorizzi said. He is on pace to walk 83 batters this year, a 36 percent rise over his previous career high.
“Three-ball counts, then four or five foul balls, it really adds up. You might as well just walk him on four after that,” he said.
Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff, the Twins’ No. 1 picks the past two years, will represent Cedar Rapids in the Midwest League All-Star Game in Lansing, Mich., on Tuesday, along with righthander Jared Finkel.
Lewis will play despite being bothered by tendinitis in his left knee, according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette. Righthander Brusdar Graterol, chosen to the Western All-Stars as well, will skip the game to rest his arm.