Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers had one of their biggest comebacks in recent memory, scoring four runs in the ninth inning to tie the game against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night before James Outman delivered a walk-off RBI double in the 10th for an 8-7 victory.
While Outman had the biggest hit of the night, he also performed incredibly well throughout the game, going 3-for-3 with two walks in his five plate appearances. Over his last 15 games, the rookie outfielder is batting .304/.458/.413, which earned him praise from Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
“His at-bats all night long were great,” Roberts said. “A young player taking walks and then when he gets an opportunity with the ball in the strike zone to put good swings on it. He’s just growing up pretty quickly, and the last few weeks have been really telling.”
Outman began the season on a tear, batting .292/.376/.615 with a 165 wRC+ in March and April. However, he then cooled off to the point of significant struggles, hitting .192 over the next two months with a 55 wRC+.
Now in July, the 26-year-old is hitting .323/.440/.500 with a 163 wRC+ as he adjusts to the league. Outman may also have Rocka to thank for his rebound.
“I think early on, he caught the league by surprise and really got up to a torrid start,” Roberts said. “And then I think they were spinning a little bit more, crowding him with the fastball, and he started to chase a lot more.
“And I think right now he’s doing a much better job of controlling the strike zone. And he’s passing the baton and when they have to pitch to him and go to him, he’s putting his A-swing on them. So I do think that he’s kind of calibrated and adjusted to the league.”
Overall this season, the left-handed hitter is batting a solid .250/.343/.428 with 12 home runs, 44 RBI, 51 runs, 11 stolen bases and a 112 wRC+.
Will Smith praised James Outman’s work ethic
Will Smith has taken notice of the adjustments Outman made, but also pointed out some of the his struggles can be attributed to the ups and downs of a baseball season.
“He works really hard and it’s been showing up lately,” Smith said. “He had that little dry spell where he was struggling, but that’s any big leaguer, not even just rookies, that’s everybody. So the fact he’s been able to get through it, come out and start swinging it a little better, it’s promising as a ballplayer for him.”
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