Julio Rodríguez Breaks Power Slump with Homer and Double, Leading Mariners to 8-4 Victory Over A’s

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Julio Rodríguez

Julio Rodríguez arrived at T-Mobile Park on Saturday with a mission to end his power slump. Amid an empty stadium, he sought guidance from Mariners director of hitting strategy Jarret DeHart. Their conversations boiled down to a simple yet crucial strategy: being on time for fastballs.

The next day, Rodríguez’s efforts paid off when he hit a 409-foot, two-run homer, leading the Mariners to an 8-4 victory over the A’s. This home run was significant, as it was his first at home this season and only his second overall, ending a streak of 43 plate appearances without an extra-base hit.

In addition to his homer, Rodríguez nearly hit another in the fifth inning but had to settle for a 403-foot double. This performance suggested he was on the brink of a breakthrough, especially after hitting three balls over 100 mph in Saturday’s game, though all resulted in outs.

Rodríguez expressed his commitment to putting in the necessary work but acknowledged that sometimes more effort is required to overcome challenges. His slump had been particularly impactful since the Mariners’ offensive strategy heavily relies on his performance.

Julio Rodríguez
Julio Rodríguez Homers and Doubles in Mariners’ Win Over A’s

Despite the Mariners’ offseason efforts to bolster their offense, Rodríguez’s .547 OPS from the No. 2 spot in the lineup has been the third lowest in MLB. Reflecting on his struggles, Rodríguez recognized the need to improve in different aspects of his game. His recent success came from a renewed focus on timing fastballs.

His homer and double on Sunday were both off fastballs, illustrating the effectiveness of this approach. Prior to this, he had struggled to convert his high batting average against fastballs into substantial damage, with only three barrels from 121 in-zone fastball swings.

Rodríguez’s struggles were further highlighted by his poor contact on fastballs over the heart of the plate, where 32.4% of his contact was classified as weak or poor. However, Sunday’s game showed a marked improvement as he managed to add two barrels against fastballs, underscoring the importance of being on time for the pitch.

Julio Rodríguez
Julio Rodríguez Homers and Doubles in Mariners’ Win Over A’s

Rodríguez emphasized that mastering the timing of fastballs would enable him to handle any pitch better, a realization that is gradually improving his performance.

Improving plate discipline is also crucial for Rodríguez to see more fastballs. He has frequently been behind in counts, which negatively impacts the quality of pitches he faces. His strikeout rate of 28.7% further complicates matters when he isn’t consistently hitting for power.

Mariners manager Scott Servais noted that understanding how pitchers approach him is key, as Rodríguez needs to earn better pitches by laying off bad ones. Sunday’s homer, hit in a 1-2 count, demonstrated progress in this area.

Rodríguez’s slugging percentage saw a significant boost on Sunday, reflecting a positive trend after a season of mechanical adjustments. His new setup, intended to minimize movement, had affected his balance and power.

Recently, he reverted to a more familiar stance, aiming to engage his legs more effectively. This adjustment appears to be paying off, as Rodríguez feels more capable of harnessing his body’s power. His dedication and confidence in his preparation remain steadfast, a crucial factor for the Mariners’ offensive success going forward.


By Christopher Kamila

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