The rookie needed a night off. Dave Roberts said so. Mired in a 5-28 slump, James Outman was on the bench to start the game for the Dodgers on Monday. Doc felt a night off to just watch a ballgame was in order for the outfielder that has been struggling on both sides of the ball of late. The manager said he sent the kid a text with the idea a day before.
Maybe a bit of a reset was needed, even if Outman wasn’t really in need of one mentally, per se
“I don’t see any extra anxiety panic in his demeanor.” … “I think it’s more magnified because it’s a younger player. I could say the same thing about Mookie and that’s a superstar player. So it’s baseball. It’s hard to hit.”
Roberts expanded on what he’s seeing from the 26-year-old.
“The quality of at-bats are good. I think that what’s happening is they’re pitching him up in the zone and some borderline calls are going against them down below, but I still think the intent to put together an at-bat are good. The results haven’t been good, but that’s part of it. I don’t think any of us expected this season to just be completely linear. And that’s okay. So, I do know he’s prepared everyday and he will find his way out of it.”
The feeling is that maybe Outman has been expanding the zone, chasing balls up and down a bit too much. “I think that to kind of chase both, That’s a tough way to go about it.
Outman ended up getting in the game as a pinch hitter in extra innings and struck out on 3 pitches. A look at the at-bat echoes what Roberts said is getting the rookie. Swing and miss up and down in the zone.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Outman get one more day on Tuesday but more than likely he’ll be back in the lineup against Twins right-hander Bailey Ober.