Could familiarity with former teammates on the White Sox pitching staff be just what the doctor ordered for Nick Madrigal offensively this week?
Maybe it couldn’t hurt, but the Cubs second baseman downplayed that notion as a possible solution to his early struggles at the plate.
Not that he seems worried.
“I feel like I'm getting back on track offensively and it’s just a matter of time anyways,” said Madrigal, who went 1-for-3 Tuesday, against the Sox, before the game.
“I feel confident with where I'm at.”
Madrigal has gotten off to a slow start at the plate through his first month in a Cubs uniform, carrying a .210/.269/.258 slash line into Tuesday.
His strikeout rate — 16.4 percent — was nearly double his career average of 9 percent.
Madrigal struck out three times in Saturday’s loss to the Brewers, the first time that’s happened in his career. In fact, he told reporters in Milwaukee this past weekend he thinks it’s the first time it’s happened in his life.
“Looks like his timing is not quite there yet,” Cubs manager David Ross said after Saturday’s game. “It’s definitely uncharacteristic of him.
“Very uncharacteristic of him. Had a couple of days off, maybe just get back into that timing for him. That's what I see, just a little bit late.”
Despite the early struggles, it’s still early. Madrigal has shown through his first two big-league seasons he’s elite at making contact, and while Tuesday was only his 101st career game, his career numbers (.299 average, .343 on-base percentage) are solid.
Madrigal worked a full count in his first plate appearance Tuesday against Michael Kopech before grounding out to shortstop. He squared up a 94-mph Kopech fastball in the fifth, hitting a single into center field.
“I feel like I've been seeing the ball better,” Madrigal said pregame. “I've seen a lot of those guys over there the last couple years being over there, but I feel like I'm focused on my process.
“I feel like it's just a matter of time.”
In his final at-bat Tuesday, Madrigal hit a well-struck line drive that Adam Engel tracked down in center field.
"I feel like I'm seeing [the ball] better," he said after the 3-1 Cubs loss. "The ball is starting to slow down a little bit. I think I'm in a good place right now."