If ever anyone needed a night like Wednesday night, it was J.D. Martinez. He came into the game 6-for-59 since April 28, the worst slump of his young career. His spot in the order was slipping only when his playing time wasn't slipping.
But Martinez may have turned things around on Wednesday, driving in the go-ahead run with a rare bloop triple in the fourth inning as the Astros beat the Cubs 5-1. The cliche goes that it takes a hit like that to break out of a slump, but Martinez, who finished the day 3-for-4 with three RBIs, didn't feel like there was all that much different.
"I feel about the same comfort-wise," Martinez said. "I just wasn't missing pitches tonight. In the past, I felt like I was fouling those pitches off and I just wasn't doing that tonight."
When he was doing that, the hits weren't coming, and neither were the walks. He had been a No. 3 hitter counted on for power but amid the 6-for-59, had been relegated to the No. 7 spot and extra batting practice. The goal of that BP being to get his swing shortened and his plate discipline improved.
Martinez's turnaround is vital for an Astros' offense that has produced a lot at the top, but little from the heart of the order. After the 3-for-4, he is now hitting .235 with a .342 on-base percentage and a .356 slugging percentage.
Those aren't the stats Martinez has come to expect, especially after a good April. Nights like Wednesday have been the norm.
"That's what I expect out of myself, just to come out and hit the ball hard," Martinez said after his second straight game with the go-ahead hit. "(Tuesday and Wednesday), I was able to put myself in good positions and good counts to do that."