Hamilton focused on finishing season strong

Hamilton focused on finishing season strong

NEW YORK -- Josh Hamilton's 2013 season has basically come down to acceptance.

His numbers will be way down when it's all said and done, no matter how well he hits in these last seven weeks. His batting average (82 points below what he averaged over the previous five seasons), on-base percentage (83 points) and slugging percentage (138) are all way down, and there isn't enough time for them to get much better.

"The biggest thing now is understanding that you cannot make up for a whole season in two months," Hamilton said. "So, don't try to do that, because it puts more pressure on yourself and causes you to try to do a little too much. So just prepare, like you do every day, and play."

Hamilton -- with a .223/.280/.411 slash line through 110 games entering Tuesday, with 17 homers and 56 RBIs -- has shown flashes of reverting back to the prolific slugger of his Texas days.

But there has been no sustainability.

He went 9-for-24 toward the end of April, then got five hits in his next 37 at-bats. He hit .372 during a 12-game stretch that seeped into July, then batted .183 over his next 17 contests. He entered Tuesday riding a three-game stretch in which he's notched five hits and a walk in 14 plate appearances, trying his best to find some sort of consistency.

"The last few games, I've felt better," Hamilton said. "I've had these spurts this year where I feel good for six, seven, eight, nine games, then back to the 'what happened?' feeling. In the past, I've never felt that before. Usually if I go through a slump, I'll bust out of it and stay out of it for a while. It's something new. It's been a growing process, I feel like, because I've never struggled like this in the game before."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.