ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Baseball is a simple game.
Which makes it sometimes perplexing how grown men paid to play the game can sometimes make it so complicated.
That’s what Trayvon Robinson, the 26-year-old left fielder for the Albuquerque Isotopes, says he got caught up in doing much of the season, leading to a dismal start at the plate.
“I was doing all this thinking,” said Robinson, whose batting average has risen some 21 points in the past 10 games. “A lot of people had all this advice, and I realized I was doing everything but keeping it simple and realizing there’s this guy who has this white ball I’m just trying to hit it. Everything else changes, but the ball don’t change.”
Robinson’s keep-it-simple approach has led to his hitting safely in 11 of his past 12 starts, including going 2-for-3 with a double and a walk in Monday night’s 2-0 loss to the Round Rock Express in front of 7,378 in Isotopes Park.
Manager Damon Berryhill said Robinson hasn’t been chasing as many bad pitches as he did early in the season.
“We knew he was capable of doing it,” Berryhill said. “… You struggle and you start thinking too much about what you’re doing wrong – what’s my swing path? What’s this, what’s that?”
Recent work with hitting coach Franklin Stubbs in the batting cage, as well as a relaxed approach at the plate, seems to be paying off.
Entering the Isotopes four-game series against Salt Lake on May 31, Robinson was hitting .224. He enters tonight’s second game in a four-game series with Round Rock hitting .245 after going 13-for-39 (.333 average) in the past 10 games, and 10-for-25 (.400) in his last six games.
“I wasn’t comfortable,” the switch-hitting Robinson recalled of his approach at the plate just a couple weeks ago. “I worried about where my hands were, where my feet are positioned. All that’s important too, but sometimes it’s as simple as not thinking about all that and just looking for the best pitches to hit.”
In last week’s series win at Tacoma Robinson had eight hits in four games, including three doubles and a home run.
His double on Monday gives him 14 for the season. His career high was 29 in 2009 when he split time between high-A and Double-A affiliations.
“I’ve been focusing on hitting as many doubles as possible this season,” Robinson said. “I’m not necessarily trying to hit it over the fence, just find a good pitch and drive it in the gap.”
Robinson, who played 90 major league games with the Seattle Mariners split over the 2011 and 2012 seasons, said he feels much more relaxed in recent weeks.
“I’m just trying to make sure it’s fun again,” he said. “Have a good time. Most of the stuff that goes on in baseball, I can’t control all that, but I can try and have fun doing it.”
TOSSED: Berryhill was ejected in the third inning when he argued with third base umpire Spencer Flynn about a third out called on a sliding Joc Pederson at third base.
“I asked him where the tag was,” Berryhill said. “He said he was on his back. I said if it was on his back, where were (Pederson’s) feet?”
Pederson slid feet first and appeared to have his cleats on the bag before Express third baseman Brent Lillibridge applied a tag.