Gennett expects his luck to turn at the plate

Low strikeout rate supports second baseman's case to break out of slump

Gennett expects his luck to turn at the plate

NEW YORK -- Brewers second baseman Scooter Gennett doesn't need to look up at the scoreboard these days to know that he's been struggling.

"I know what's going on up there," Gennett said Saturday, before seeing his batting average fall to .159 and his recent funk extend to 1-for-24 with an 0-for-4 night in the Mets' 14-1 victory.

Before the game, Gennett projected confidence as he discussed the deepest slump of his brief big league career, saying, "I'm starting to get that confidence back, that swagger." He pointed to the fact he's not striking out at an alarming rate (four times during his 1-for-24 stretch), and entered the night batting .063 on balls in play (the National League average is .301) as cause for confidence. The modest strikeout rate shows Gennett is making consistent contact, and the low BABIP suggests a degree of bad luck.

At the same time, he acknowledged that it's time to start hitting.

"It's something at this level I've never really experienced, but I have in the past," Gennett said. "I remember at High A, I was 3-for-40 with three strikeouts in a stretch in the month of May. It's one of those things where [balls hit in play are] not in the right spot, or whatever the case is. You just have to keep plugging away.

"I still believe I'm a .300 hitter, so it's just a matter of time before things start turning around."

He said he had fallen into the same pull-happy trap that captures so many struggling hitters, and acknowledged being set back a bit by a two-week stint on the disabled list in late April and early May after suffering a cut on his left hand during a postgame shower in Pittsburgh.

"He's been struggling, but the one thing that I've seen for years watching him play is he always has hit," manager Craig Counsell said. "That's one thing we know. He's been very consistent at it every year he has played. You just have to keep going with it."

Gennett offered a similar solution, saying the key to breaking out of his slump is simple: "Just hit."

"It's really weird -- the first time I went through this in High A I didn't handle it well," he said. "It was just one of those experiences where you learn a lot about yourself. Things are bad as you could ever imagine, and you get through those things. I've done it before, and it's just about time to start doing it again. I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.