James Outman Credits Jason Heyward, Will Smith & More Dodgers Teammates For Keeping Him ‘Centered’ During Slump

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

James Outman broke out of his slump with a game-winning grand slam that propelled the Los Angeles Dodgers to defeating the Minnesota Twins, 7-3, and giving them a sixth consecutive series win.

Prior to Wednesday’s series finale at Dodger Stadium, Outman had been mired in an 5-for-33 skid (.152 batting average) over his previous 11 games. “It’s no secret I was grinding,” Outman said after the Dodgers’ win.

“My teammates were keeping me positive. David (Peralta), J-Hey (Jason Heyward), Will (Smith), Freddie (Freeman), to name a few. There was obviously way more. They were keeping me centered, and it felt really good to finally come through in a big spot.”

Outman singled out Will Smith in particular for helping him find silver linings when he wasn’t getting the results he wanted. “Will was telling me to find a positive in the negative.

“Like in a situation, at least I swung at good pitches, or at least I moved the ball forward and stuck to my approach. Stuff like that. Finding positives when you’re grinding, I think really helps out.”

Throughout his slump Outman noticed opposing pitchers attacking him differently but also there was a drop off in an area he typically excels in.

“I was missing the heater a lot. It’s kind of uncharacteristic of me, to be honest,” Outman explained. “That was kind of the pitch I’ve always been looking for. I was getting frustrated with myself a little bit, missing good pitches to hit. But definitely high heaters, up and in.”

James Outman tried different solutions to end slump

As he was pressing at the plate, Outman took extra batting practice and tried sticking to his routine to help break out of his slump. “Little bit of both, to be honest,” Outman began when asked which approach he took.

“You want to get your swing right, but at the same time you don’t want to overdue it. I was talking to the hitting coaches before the game today, and we were just trying to get back to my routine in Spring Training and the early parts of the season.”

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