Heading into Tuesday’s game, the Red Sox catcher has fanned 20 times in his last 10 games, including six games with two-plus strikeouts. It’s a trend that Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine has noticed.
“[He’s] just not laying off the pitch down, soft and down,” Valentine said of Saltalamacchia. “You know, it’s an old Catch 22. It’s a ball, take it, and if you keep telling yourself not to swing at it, you usually swing at it. It’s one of those things.”
Despite reaching a career-high in home runs (17), Saltalamacchia is also on pace to eclipse his previous mark for the most strikeouts in a season (119). Through 72 games this year, the 27-year-old has struck out 79 times.
Before the game, the catcher’s batting average was a paltry .231. Due to the increase in strikeouts, Saltalamacchia is putting in the extra work to improve his discipline at the plate.
“He did come out early today, had a few rounds of extra [batting practice] at 3 [p.m.] this afternoon and worked on specific things,” Valentine said.
Behind David Ortiz, Saltalamacchia is second on the team in home runs.