May a kind month for Zobrist

May a kind month for Zobrist

CHICAGO -- Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist may not want to turn the calendar to June.

Zobrist led the National League with a .496 on-base percentage in May and was second in batting average, at .418. Teammate Dexter Fowler led the NL with a .474 OBP in April, and Zobrist had a slash line of .260/.396/.356 in the season's first month.

"He's definitely enjoying the moment right now," manager Joe Maddon said of Zobrist on Tuesday. "The biggest difference I'm seeing is that he's able to cover a variety of pitches offensively and he's using the whole field more consistently, and he's doing it from both sides of the plate."

"In the past he'd have one side going over the other, and in the past he'd only be covering certain pitches and hitting the ball well to certain parts of the field. Right now he's covering everything. You see balls down the left-field line, you see balls in the right-field seats. I think he's more aware at the plate of what he's doing."

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Zobrist started doing an extra flip drill prior to games with hitting coach John Mallee, and that seems to help his preparation. Zobrist, who turned 35 last Thursday, had never done that particular drill until this season.

However, Zobrist's hitting streak came to an end on Tuesday in the Cubs' 5-0 loss to the Dodgers, as he went 0-for-3, striking out three times for the first time this season. He also ended his 35-game stretch of reaching base.

Zobrist said he did not maintain any superstitious routines during the streak.

"What happens is, if you don't do well, and you're on a streak, you look back and say, 'What if I had done this the day before?'" Zobrist said. "All those thoughts don't mean anything. What it comes down to is getting prepared and ready for the game. As long as I feel like I've done my work and I feel prepared, then you have to go out there and get a pitch to hit and do what you can with it. A lot of it depends on what the other pitcher does -- maybe he's got a superstition."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.