Gavin Lux on Monday night doubled in the sixth inning, then delivered a two-out single in the eighth to drive in an insurance run in the Dodgers win, continuing a productive May at the plate for the middle infielder.
“In the batter’s box, he’s just getting better and more comfortable. His at-bat quality is consistently getting better,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He’s just really putting good at-bats together, so it’s really been helpful.”
The Dodgers planned to give Lux “a runway” at second base this season, and so far he’s gotten it. Outside of an injured list stint with right wrist soreness, Lux through Saturday started 25 of 29 games at second base. In two of the four games he didn’t start at second, he filled in at shortstop, just as he has the first two games since Corey Seager broke his hand.
Giving Lux that runway meant having him work through a slump, hitting just .179/.213/.250 in April that included a 2-for-39 stretch that spilled over into May 1.
The results have turned in May into something more tangible, most notably last Tuesday’s game-winning, three-run home run in the eighth inning to beat Seattle that was Lux’s first career home run at Dodger Stadium. That comeback win not only prevented the Dodgers from falling to .500, but also followed a 5-15 stretch, so it was understandable that just about everyone was clinging to that home run as something that could turn the Dodgers season around.
So far, so good, with the Dodgers winning five of their last six games, outscoring opponents 34-15. But it seems it might have turned the tide for Lux as well.
“Tonight was the first time I felt that swing come back a little bit,” Lux said after the home run.
Lux credited hitting coaches Robert Van Scoyoc, Brant Brown, and Aaron Bates with helping him find his swing again, and improve his approach.
“Me and Rob, and Brownie and Bates have been grinding in the cage pretty hard, and just trying to feel comfortable in the setup,” Lux said. “Kind of in the game then, just shut your brain off and focus on your game plan and your approach, and what the pitcher’s trying to do to you.”
Keeping it simple has worked for Lux, who is hitting .314/.375/.431 in May, all while cutting his strikeout rate by more than half.
Gavin Lux, month by month
The impressive May numbers are backed up by Lux’s batted-ball data, with expected numbers even slightly higher than his actual production. It has come at a great time for the Dodgers, who have four lineup regulars on the injured list and need all the help they can get to keep the offense afloat.
Teams: Dodgers vs. D-backs
Location: Dodger Stadium
Time: 7:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA