Madrigal of the Cubs: “A matter of time” before taking up the torch originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Familiarity with former teammates on the White socks is the pitching staff exactly what the doctor ordered for Nick Madrigal offensively this week?
Maybe it couldn’t hurt, but the Cubs the second baseman downplayed that notion as a possible solution to his early difficulties at home plate — not that he seemed worried.
“I feel like I’m getting back on track offensively and it’s only a matter of time anyway,” Madrigal said before Tuesday’s game against the Sox. “I feel confident with where I am.”
Madrigal got off to a slow start at the plate in his first month in a Cubs uniform, carrying a slant line of .210/.269/.258 through Tuesday.
His strikeout rate – 16.4% – was almost double his career average of 9%.
Madrigal pulled back three goals in Saturday’s loss to the Brewers, the first time that had happened in his career. In fact, he told reporters in Milwaukee last weekend that he thought this was the first time it had happened in his life.
“Looks like his timing hasn’t quite happened yet,” Cubs manager David Ross said after Saturday’s game. “It’s definitely not in his personality.
“Very unusual of him. I had a few days off, maybe just come back in this timing for him. That’s what I see, just a bit late.
Despite the first struggles, it is still early. Madrigal has shown in his first two major league seasons that he is elite at making contacts, and while Tuesday was just his 101st career game, his career numbers (0.299 average, percentage base of 0.343) are strong.
Madrigal said he was “excited” to face his former team but didn’t want to think too much about the game.
“There’s been a lot of preparation so far, just banter with some of my friends,” he said. “Went to dinner with Andrew Vaughn on the day off (Monday). It was funny.
“I’m very excited to be back there. I think in the end it’s a normal game. We have so many – 162 of those games – so it will be nice to eliminate the first against the team, but we’re still focused on trying to win a baseball game.”
Madrigal worked a full count in his first plate appearance Tuesday against Michael Kopech before stopping at shortstop.
He got a Kopech fastball at 94 mph in the fifth, hitting a well-hit single into center field.
“I feel like I can see the ball better,” Madrigal said. “I’ve seen a lot of these guys there over the last two years, but I feel like I’m focused on my process.
“I feel like it’s only a matter of time.”