As the ongoing baseball season progresses, players inevitably encounter challenging periods when batting. These phases are a natural aspect of the game, and currently, Dodgers’ catcher Will Smith finds himself in one.
Following an impressive first half of the season, Smith’s statistics have seen a decline in recent weeks. His ability to consistently connect with the ball has wavered, but interestingly, this downturn hasn’t significantly impacted the team’s performance on the field. Despite the absence of their All-Star catcher, the Dodgers maintain their domination, showcasing their strength as a cohesive unit. Manager Dave Roberts acknowledged that he had a conversation with Smith regarding his struggles at the plate. Roberts maintains a sense of calm about the situation, indicating that he isn’t overly alarmed by Smith’s challenges. However, even with Roberts’ reassurance, a certain level of concern lingers. This situation echoes a similar occurrence during the previous season, suggesting a recurring pattern.
Smith exhibited an impressive performance in the first half of the year, only to grapple with struggles as the season progressed. This pattern raises questions about his approach throughout the demanding season, warranting swift corrective action. Roberts dismisses attributing these struggles solely to fatigue, highlighting the need for a more comprehensive solution.
“I think that (fatigue) is something that’s an easy discussion point. There’s catchers across the league who catch as much as he does. He’s in his prime. He takes good care of himself. So I just don’t think wear and tear and fatigue is the reason he’s not on the fastball lately.”
Throughout the season, Smith maintains a batting average of .270, contributing 17 home runs and 66 runs batted in. Despite facing difficulties, he continues to secure hits, albeit at a slower rate compared to earlier in the year. Presently batting in the third spot in the lineup, Roberts contemplates the possibility of repositioning Smith if the challenges persist.
“I don’t default always to mechanics. But I do think in Will’s case there’s some things with his setup that I think has caused him to be late on the fastball,” Roberts said.
Irrespective of the underlying cause, Smith must address these hurdles sooner rather than later. His role within the Dodgers’ offensive strategy is pivotal, and his performance is critical during the postseason. Hopes remain high that these challenges will be resolved over the upcoming weeks, allowing Smith to regain his All-Star caliber hitting performance. The Dodgers, led by their composed manager and fortified team dynamics, continue to exhibit their prowess on the field.
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