Schafer plagued by strikeout woes
Rookie won't use sore left wrist as an excuse for struggles
ATLANTA -- Jordan Schafer can tolerate the left wrist discomfort that he's been battling most of the season. But the National League-leading strikeout total that he carried into Tuesday night's series finale against the Mets is a little too painful to fathom.
While recording a third successive three-strikeout performance during Monday night's loss to the Mets, Schafer saw his season total rise to 33. He blames his struggles on the fact that he hasn't made adjustments in a timely manner. But he won't blame the left wrist that he injured during the season's fourth game.
"It affects me, but that's no excuse for the amount of times that I've been swinging and missing," Schafer said. "I've never swung and missed this much in my life."
Schafer's strikeouts have certainly proven costly over the course of the past two games, when he stranded a total of 10 runners. When he opened his offensive performance in Monday's game with a bases-loaded strikeout, it marked the second straight at-bat that he was unable to put the ball in play with the bases loaded.
In the first 26 plate appearances he's had with runners in scoring position, Schafer has hit .100 (2-for-20), recorded 10 strikeouts and produced no RBIs. Two of the three RBIs that he's collected this year came via the two homers he hit during the first three games of his career.
Schafer felt some discomfort in his left wrist during the middle innings of the regular season's fourth game and then felt it pop during his final at-bat. One day later, he enjoyed the first three-hit game of his career.
But in the 20 games that have followed, he's hit .194 with a .258 slugging percentage and 29 strikeouts.
"First of all, we need to get his wrist healthy," Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton said. "But we have to get him striding back to the ball and getting his backside behind him. That means his balance has to be better as a hitter."
Attempting to provide his wrist some relief, Schafer went about 10 days without doing any early work before games. But after talking with Pendleton and Chipper Jones on Tuesday afternoon, the rookie center fielder participated in batting practice with the confidence that he's ready to make the necessary adjustments.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.