Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Trayce Thompson found himself in the spotlight on multiple occasions Monday night, going from a down moment to hero for the Los Angeles Dodgers in their 9-8 walk-off win against the Minnesota Twins in 12 innings.
Thompson entered the game as a pinch-runner for J.D. Martinez after his RBI single tied the game in the bottom of the 10th inning. However, Thompson’s time on the bases quickly came to an end as he was picked off first base.
It was another down point for Thompson, who is mired in an 0-for-30 slump. The Twins later looked to capitalize on that by intentionally walking Max Muncy to load the bases with two outs.
“You can’t take anything into the box,” Thompson said of his mindset heading into the game-winning plate appearance. “Mistakes happen. You’ve just got to flush it and move on. I could kind of see the game lining up and you could tell moments could come back up. So I just had to forget about it, move on and wait for the next moment to help the team.”
Thompson fell behind in the count 1-2 before working it full. Considering his ongoing struggles this season, seeking a walk would be an understandable approach, but Thompson didn’t allow a passive mindset to set in.
“I’m not looking to just take a pitch right there,” he explained. “That’s a really good pitcher. If he throws a pitch right down the middle and I’m not aggressive, it’s tough to sleep at night. So you’ve got to treat it like any other 3-2 at-bat.
“Obviously you have your two-strike approach and try to battle anything close to get a good pitch to hit. If it’s not there, it’s not there. But nothing changes. Just try to get a good pitch to hit. Lucky enough, I saw it was a ball.”
Thompson has just one hit since his three home runs against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the third game of the season, and the discipline and patience shown to draw a walk-off walk was not lost on Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
“It’s a tough at-bat,” Roberts said. “Doing the double steal, it made sense to walk Max there, but what you do is leave yourself open for a base on balls. For Trayce to take that 3-2 pitch and not just swing the bat to make something happen, is really tough to do.”
Trayce Thompson remaining optimistic
Thompson is batting just .125/.290/.339 line over his last 30 games and he’s yet to improve on reverse splits as the Dodgers hoped amid their continued woes against left-handed pitching.
“It’s tough,” Thompson said of his slump. “That’s baseball. You just try to take the good with the bad. I feel like this is the ultimate sport where if you let things affect the other, it can drag along for a long time. So just try to be optimistic about each day, go out and try to prepare to help these guys win a game.”
The patience the Dodgers have with Thompson comes from his ability to play quality defense in the outfield and prior success at the plate. In 2022, Thompson hit 13 home runs in 74 games for the Dodgers while posting a .268/.364/.537 batting line.
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!