Rockies’ Ryan McMahon searching for a way out of deep slump


This is not the kind of season that Ryan McMahon envisioned when he signed a six-year, $70 million contract during spring training. But the Rockies’  third baseman said the pressure of living up to the contract is not what’s fueling his funk.

“The only time I’ve thought about that is when somebody brings it up,” McMahon said Saturday before the Rockies hosted San Diego at Coors Field. “That’s not me, that’s not who I am. My family and I are taken care of for life, but that’s not what this is about.

“I just want to go out and be a better baseball player for myself and my teammates. That’s what will make it easier to sleep at night.”

McMahon entered Saturday’s game hitting 1-for-12 with five strikeouts on the current homestand. Over his last 27 games, he slashed .161/.262/.226. He had not hit a home run since May 14 vs. Kansas City.

“It’s been a tough 100 at-bats, or so,” manager Bud Black said, adding that he believes that McMahon’s extra effort put him deeper into a rut.

“It starts with bad swing choices and bad swing decisions,” Black said. “When you make bad choices, you start getting into that rut. Then human nature tells you that you’ve got to swing your way out of it and a lot of times that works against you.

“I think that’s where ‘Mac’ was. He tried to swing himself out of it. With that, you start swinging at bad pitches. And then what happens, on the other side, is that they notice that you are swinging at bad pitches, so they start throwing bad pitches.”

McMahon said he’s searching for a way to stop that negative chasing.

“I’m working on a lot of stuff,” he said, shortly after leaving the indoor batting cage. “I’m focusing on the right stuff. But this is not fun. It (stinks). But you know me, I hold myself to pretty high standards and I’m going to do what’s best for the team. I’m just going to keep trying to come out of it.”

McMahon said he’s trying to find the happy medium between working and letting go. What’s the key?

“It’s usually not caring and just relaxing and going out and playing the game,” he said. “It’s hard to do, but at the end of the day this isn’t a try-hard league, this is a get-(stuff)-done league.”

Working overtime. Prior to Saturday night’s game, struggling catcher Elias Diaz was making extra throws to the bases. Also, Rockies pitchers took PFP (pitcher’s fielding practice) in an attempt to clean up their games.

“I’m a firm believer in practice,” Black said. “Diaz has to practice his throwing, just to solidify that he does have a great arm and that he can throw accurately.”

It’s been a difficult season for the catcher. Last season, Diaz overcame a bad start and finished with a .246 batting average and 18 home runs. His 42.1% caught-stealing rate ranked first in the National League and second overall to Royals star Salvador Perez (43.9%).


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