Like many Cubs, it has been a tough start to the season offensively for Joc Pederson.
Pederson was the team’s hottest hitter coming out of spring training after he slugged an MLB-leading eight homers during Cactus League play.
But he has not seen that success translate during the start of the regular season.
The 28-year-old outfielder was slashing .149/.281/.255 with one home run and a .536 OPS through Monday. Pederson went 0-for-4 and struck out three times Tuesday.
“I just think that, unfortunately, I did not start the season the way I wanted or planned,” Pederson said. “But I think that’s life. That’s baseball. You gotta adapt, make some adjustments. It kind of hit me by surprise, especially the way I was feeling during spring.
“It’s not how you start. It’s easier said than done, but I’ve been grinding with our hitting coaches and just getting back to the basics of what’s made me successful.”
Pederson was in the midst of a brutal 4-for-43 stretch, but after three hits and significantly better at-bats in the series against the Braves, manager David Ross thinks his left fielder is on the verge of turning the corner.
“I think we’ve definitely seen he’s felt more connected,” Ross said. “I know the last couple games, you can really tell. Some better swings, even the balls he’s missed, [he’s] fouled straight back rather than then off to the third-base side where he was a little bit late and the timing was off.
“I think he’s been in a really good place. He’s taken his walks, he’s still in the at-bat, he seems to be in a much better place the last couple games and getting some results and getting in some really good counts.”
While the results haven’t come as fast as Pederson would like, he feels if he continues to keep the same mindset things will turn in his favor over the course of a 162-game season.
“It’s not very fun when you’re sucking and you’re losing,” Pederson said. “That’s not fun, but you kind of just got to enjoy the things you can and get back to the process and out of the results. I think the results kind of drive us a little crazy at the start of the year. Results are so drastic. You can be hitting .100 and the next thing you know three, four, five games later, it’s vice versa. So just staying out of those results and just get back to the process.”
Bote scratched late, Sogard starts
Second baseman David Bote was scratched before the game with an upset stomach, according to the team. Eric Sogard started in Bote’s place at second. Bote is slashing .171/.286/.400 with two home runs and five walks.
First base/catching coach Driver returns
Cubs’ first base and catching coach Craig Driver is back with the team for the first time since testing positive for COVID-19. Driver had been away from the team since April 8. Bullpen coach Chris Young also has been out since testing positive.