Missing fastballs an uncharacteristic puzzle for Gose

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Anthony Gose

Detroit – Anthony Gose was asked before the game Monday how he processes and handles things when he’s struggling at the plate.

“Try not to shoot myself,” he said, without any trace of a smile. “That’s what it comes down to.”

Well, not literally.

“I mean, you just show up and be ready for the next day and hope it turns around,” he said.

It’s been a brutal stretch for him, and he’s been held out of the starting lineup three of the last five games, including Monday night.

He’s in a 2-for-24 skid, striking out 11 times. On the season he is hitting .174, with a .255 on-base percentage, striking out 19 times in 51 plate appearances.

“I’m late on the fastball and out in front and swinging and missing on the breaking ball,” Gose said. “Just one of those things. I need that one good thing to happen and things will turn around. I am waiting on that one good thing to happen.”

That one good thing could be a broken-bat single, a blooper, a bunt, a bad hop – just something to get himself off the snide. But he’s doing more than wishing and hoping. He’s been wearing out bats in the cage.

“It’s definitely not from a lack of work, that’s for sure,” he said. “I just have to figure it out.”

Gose is no stranger to batting slumps – nobody is. But this one is different.

“I am missing fastballs, that’s the big thing,” he said. “Last year I didn’t miss a fastball. I got off to a good start and that’s what it was. I didn’t miss. When they made a mistake with a fastball, I didn’t miss it. I was ready for it.”

Gose is at a loss to understand why he’s missing them. Typically, when players miss fastballs, it’s because their swing has gotten long. Gose said that’s too simplistic.

“If that was the case it would already be fixed,” he said. “Something’s just not right.”

In a five-pitch at-bat against the Indians’ Trevor Bauer Sunday, he saw three fastballs. He swing and missed on a cut-fastball at 90 mph, fouled off a 92 mph two-seamer and took a called third strike on a 94 mph four-seamer.

“If you are not hitting the fastball, you’re pretty much not hitting anything," he said. "And the pitchers aren’t even tricking me right now. They aren’t even trying to trick me. They are just attacking me with fastballs.”

Gose had a rough day in the field Sunday, too. Though he wasn’t charged with an error, he had a couple of misplayed balls. Manager Brad Ausmus said he doesn’t believe Gose is taking his batting woes into the field with him.

“I don’t think so,” Ausmus said. “He’s had some bad at-bats and coincidentally he had a couple of plays yesterday that he sometimes makes. But I wouldn’t read into it.”

Gose had a long talk in the clubhouse with Tigers legend Willie Horton, which seemed to raise his spirits.

“It’s going to happen eventually,” he said of breaking out. “And when it does I am going to take off and really get going.”

Twitter @cmccosky