St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay has not started three of the last five games, including two of which he did not play at all. The purpose of this is an attempt by the Cardinals to help improve Jay’s performance at the plate. Will the left-handed batter be able to get it going on offense soon?
Jay did not start Wednesday’s series finale against the Washington Nationals, but he did appear as a pinch hitter towards the end of the game. It was a good move by St. Louis manager Mike Matheny because Jay broke his five-game hitless streak by going 1-for-2 at the plate.
The 28-year-old has been using his time off to improve his insanely complicated swing by spending a significant amount of time in the batting cage. Since Jay’s swing has so much movement, it is easy for one part to fall out of place. When that happens, his batting average will fall because he simply does not feel comfortable at the plate.
“If you have that much movement, you’re going to be a streaky hitter,” Matheny told Cardinals.com. “When he’s hot, I think he’s as hot as anybody. And when he’s cold, he could be the [opposite].”
The Miami, Fla. native is batting .205 with two home runs, eight RBI, one double, one triple, 14 runs and 17 strikeouts in 78 at-bats. Considering he was batting .400 with the same power numbers, but 13 less strikeouts at the end of April last season, there is certainly some cause for concern among the fan base.
On the other hand, Jay is a proven talent who is a career .295 hitter. His meager batting average this year can certainly be chalked up as early season struggles and nothing more. One thing is for certain, he certainly wishes he could be doing better. However, Jay understands that his struggles can be overcome as long as he does not lose confidence in his ability.
“Obviously, I wish I could be doing better, but I’m not,” Jay said, according to Cardinals.com. “But at the same time, I know that this is a long season and you go through this as a player. I know I’m going to come out of it.”