At the all-star break, Jayson Werth had reached the bottom of his season-long funk. His numbers would drop – statistically, his lowest point came four games after the break, when he was hitting .211 with a .669 OPS. Mentally, though, the low point came at the midway point.
“I took four days off at the all-star break and I kind of just hit the reset button, started over,” Werth said. “It seemed like I was a long way from home, I guess you could say. I went back to some fundamental things and some fundamental thoughts. I really took a look at how to solve the riddle of the timing of my swing.”
By that point, Werth had noticed a glitch in his swing that threw off his timing, which for him is the most important factor in his success. He did not elaborate on that flaw – he figured, probably with good reason, that explaining a mechanical aspect of swing would be misunderstood.
He’s still try to completely fix it; there’s significant distance between detecting a flaw on video and fixing in when you’re in the batter’s box trying to hit a slider. Werth, surely, has shown signs of improvement since his four-day “reset,” hitting .260/.366./.448 since the all-star break.
“It’s a timing thing,” Werth said. “I’m a rhythm guy, I’m a timing guy. When that gets out of balance, you’re seeing the results. I’ve gone through things like that before. It’s just a matter of time before I figure out the problem. It’s taking a little bit longer than I would like it to. It will all come out fine in the end.”
He may be running out of time to attain his career norms in two important categories. Before this season started, Werth had a career .367 on-base percentage and a .481 slugging percentage. If Werth takes five plate appearances and four at-bats per game in the Nationals’ remaining 43 games, he would need to reach base at a .451 clip and slug .721 for the rest of the season in order to reach those averages.
Not surprisingly, Werth would basically need the best 43-game offensive stretch of his career in order to do that. Just for the heck of it, in a very non-scientific manner, I went back, blinded myself to the concept of arbitrary endpoints and found these to be the best 43-game stretches of Werth’s career.
The first 43 games of 2010: .401 OBP, .647 SLG
June 13 to Aug 2, 2009: .420 OBP, .623 SLG
Aug. 2 to Sept. 18, 2007: .485 OBP, .543 SLG
So Werth probably isn’t matching his career totals this season, which isn’t exactly news. But throughout his career Werth has been a streaky hitter. The hot steak hasn’t come so far, and he has two months to create one – and create some optimism for next year.
FROM THE POST
Jayson Werth still believes he’s the same player he always has been, and he has less than two months left to prove it.
NATS MINOR LEAGUES
Syracuse was rained out.
Harrisburg 4, Trenton 2: Bryce Harper went 2 for 2 with two walks. Erik Komatsu went 3 for 5. Erik Arnesen allowed no earned runs in seven innings on four hits and no walks, striking out 10.
Myrtle Beach 5, Potomac 2: Michael Lozada went 2 for 4 with a home run.
Hagerstown 9, Lexington 1: Kevin Keyes went 4 for 4. Chris Curran went 3 for 4 with a home run and a triple. Ryan Demmin allowd one run in five innings on two walks and two hits, striking out two.
Auburn was rained out.