At least at the plate, Colorado Rockies infielder Ryan McMahon has quietly been struggling a bit. Part of that is because the entire offense struggled in San Diego when the Rockies scored one run in the three-game series, which was only the fourth time in Rockies history where the Rockies scored one-run in a three-game series.
In his last 17 games entering Friday, McMahon was hitting .203 with an on-base percentage of .271 and a slugging percentage of .328 after hitting .282/.318/.538 in the first 27 games.
But on Friday, the long-ball, which has largely escaped him in the last two and half weeks returned as he hit two moon shots, one to left field and one to center and both well over 400 feet.
After the Rockies 7-1 win over the D-Backs in which Raimel Tapia also had a home run in the game as well, manager Bud Black was asked about what he saw from McMahon on Friday and he described what has been McMahon’s issue at the plate in the last two and a half weeks or so and how Friday was different.
"“I think, for me, (McMahon) was staying on the ball a little better, not pulling it,” said Black. “When (McMahon) gets into trouble, the swing gets just a little bit longer. There’s a tendency to want to pull the ball, a tendency (for) that right shoulder (to) sort of open up a little bit and (swings) around pitches.“Today, the drive to the left field, the drive to left-center tells us that he’s staying on the ball, he’s staying through the ball, and not pulling off with the right shoulder. I think (he showed) a little bit more selectivity (tonight) than there was in San Diego or in previous games, like against the Reds … But overall, I think tonight was a night where you saw what he could do with his opposite-field power on pitches that were on secondary pitches.”"
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But is the shoulder the cause of McMahon’s issues or the effect?
A few moments later, when asked about his recent struggles at the plate, the Rockies infielder agreed with Black’s statement about his shoulder being an issue but he said that his right shoulder opening up is the result of the problem that he has: getting too “wide” in his stance at the plate.
"“(The right shoulder opening up) is definitely the byproduct, for sure,” said McMahon. “The thing that we kind of all talked about–me and the hitting coaches–was that I was getting really wide, which doesn’t put me in very athletic positions … but (Bud Black) is spot on. That’s definitely something that happens when I get too wide.”"
It’s something that McMahon thinks will be something that could reoccur since he says he instinctively spreads his feet to achieve the right feel at the plate.
But then, his feet are too wide and it makes his mechanics off-kilter and therefore, not what he needs to succeed. With baseball being a game of inches (and often, millimeters), it’s little things like that could be the difference between a swinging bunt or 457-foot blast to center field.
“Honestly, it’s one of those things I’m probably going to have to fight (with) my whole career,” said McMahon. “This game, you never have it figured out. It’s kind of fun. It’s heartbreaking at times. It’s kind of frustrating. But it’s a game I love, and I’ll always love.”
And unfortunately, or fortunately, that’s the life of a Colorado Rockies fan and baseball fans of all teams all across the globe.
The Rockies will have a rare Saturday day game at 1:10 PM M.T. at Coors Field as they will send Antonio Senzatela to the mound to face D-Backs ace, Madison Bumgarner.