We all knew it wouldn’t last. Despite a run-scoring double in Sunday’s badly-needed win over the Brewers, Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki has dramatically cooled over the last week as the league adjusts and his sample size grows larger.
Over the last seven days, Suzuki has looked, well, like a mere mortal. He’s just 3-for-24 (.125) and has drawn only one walk in the last week, striking out eight times. (Still, eight strikeouts in an entire week is hardly something to panic over).
On the year, the Japanese outfielder still boasts an impressive .405 on-base percentage and 172 OPS+. It’s terrifying to think what this team’s record might be without him in the mix given how hot he started – and the next few weeks will be a big test for Suzuki as looks to break his recent slump.
His 16.7 percent walk rate still ranks in the top six percent of the league – and he continues to work counts well. When he finds a pitch to his liking, he barrels at at a rate three times the league average, so it stands to reason a rebound is imminent.
Lefties have proved problematic for Suzuki in his still-young MLB career. Although he’s hit righties to the tune of a .349/.453/.581 line, he’s managed just a .160/.323/.440 line against southpaws. He’s looked much more comfortable out of the five-spot than the two-hole, so it’ll be interesting to see if David Ross keeps him lower in the lineup, despite publicly saying he likes Suzuki in near the top of the order.
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We were all well aware that opposing pitchers would adjust and he’d have to respond accordingly. Now, with big-time matchups with the White Sox and Dodgers at home this week, Suzuki will have the chance to get back on track and drive the Cubs’ offense as he did early in the year. He’s shown over the course of his NPB career that he can do so – and now’s the time for him to translate that skillset here in MLB.