No other way for Drew, just more hard work
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- For every game in which J.D. Drew seems to be breaking out of his season-long slump, there's another three that erase the progress.
On July 20, Drew hit two doubles (one of which should have been ruled a home run) off the Green Monster. Then came an 0-for-12 streak.
After getting his average as high as .265, Drew hit just .180 (11 for 61) over his last 18 games to slip down to .248. It's a frustrating exercise for the normally reliable hitter. The roller coaster ride continued last night with a double and single in his first two at-bats -- followed by five hitless ones. The Sox six runs in the 12th inning for a 12-6 win, but Drew accounted for two outs a fly out and a grounder to second.
Hitting coach Dave Magadan said yesterday the placid right fielder is angry at the way the season has gone for him.
"He'll have five or six games where you're thinking, 'He's really going to take off now,' " Magadan said. "Either he has some nagging injury that gets him out of the lineup and he sits for two or three days, then when he gets back in, his swing isn't the same, or he has a period where he gets too pull-conscious.
"It's something where he needs results out on the field two or three days in a row and then [can] gain confidence with it."
But those confidence-building streaks have been rare, other than a notable stretch during interleague play in which Drew was slamming the ball around National League parks. Magadan has continued to work with Drew on his approach, though it hasn't been easy based on the way he has been pitched. According to Magadan, Drew has seen more offspeed pitches than at any time in his career.
That doesn't mean they've abandoned the desire for Drew to try to hit the ball more the other way, exemplified by his second-inning double off the base of the left field wall.
"He's worked hard on staying through the ball, staying to the middle of the field, and driving the ball the other way," Magadan said. "It's just something that hasn't really transferred into the game. When you're getting pitched the way he is -- he's getting pitched hard in and then soft stuff out over the plate -- it's a tougher pitch to drive the other way when it's soft out over the plate.
"He didn't get results right away on driving balls the other way. He lined out a few times, hit some balls hard to center field, lined out to shortstop. Then, maybe not consciously, but maybe subconsciously, you think, 'God, I've got to pull the ball to get a hit,' and you've got to start over from square one. I think it's something where the last two months of the season, we're going to see more of the real J.D. Drew."
Alex Cora started in his place last night and went 0 for 5.
"I think when a guy gets hot, you see this happen so often, a guy gets real hot and you move him to a part of the order of more responsibility and then they get cold," Francona said. "Well, if a guy was hitting .380, he's probably going to get down to .330."