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Nightengale: ‘Pure panic’ during Goldschmidt’s approach at the plate

Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (44) during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Friday, May 11, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

It’s been a tough season for Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.

The 30-year-old face of the franchise is having his worst offensive season of his career in 2018. He’s hitting .209 through the season’s first two months and leading the National League in strikeouts with 71.

“Talking to scouts, they say the swing is the same. They can’t figure it out, but it certainly looks like he’s guessing,” said USA Today columnist Bob Nightengale on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station Doug & Wolf.

“People say it’s his eyesight. Obviously the Diamondbacks have him going through eye tests and everything else. But he’s just not recognizing the pitches that he used to,” said Nightengale.

The D-backs’ offensive struggles don’t completely fall on Goldschmidt’s shoulders. The team has the worst batting average in Major League Baseball at .215 and is tied for second to last in runs scored at 209.

The loss of center fielder A.J. Pollock to injury hurt an offense that had struggled to put runs on the board.

“Now it seems like a lot of it is in his (Goldschmidt’s) head. It’s just pure panic mode where he used to be pretty passive taking pitches and knowing what’s a ball and a strike,” said Nightengale.

Goldschmidt’s home numbers have been shockingly poor, as he enters June hitting .158 at Chase Field with only six extra-base hits.

Chase Field has been traditionally known as a hitter’s park, but this season with the introduction of the humidor, it has favored pitchers.

Goldschmidt has shown some positive signs of late. He hit his first home run at Chase Field this season Wednesday against the Reds, but popped out on the first pitch he saw when representing the tying run in the ninth inning.

“Yesterday he hits a home run and looks great, then a big moment in the ninth inning he has that pop-up behind home plate for a huge out,” said Nightengale.

There are some positive signs for Goldschmidt. His on-base percentage is at .326 so he’s still showing a patient eye at the plate. He’s also slugging .525 on the road this season, on par with his career averages.

The positives are there, but if the D-backs are going to make a run at the postseason in 2018 they are going to need Goldschmidt’s bat to heat up.

Doug & Wolf

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