Bell Keeping it Simple in Hopes of Bouncing Back

The Pirates first baseman is keeping things simple to get out of his recent slump.

Noah Hiles
June 16, 2018 - 5:21 pm

© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – A change in the lineup and reinforced faith in his overall strategy as a hitter have allowed Josh Bell to recover from his worst slump of the season. After being removed from the fourth spot in the batting order due to a string of poor performances at the plate in late May and early June, the Pirates first baseman has begun to figure things out once again.

Entering Saturday’s matchup against Cincinnati, the once struggling Bell has reached base in 12 of his last 20 at bats and is hitting .400 (6-15) with six walks since being bumped down to sixth in the order.

”It’s nice to be able to see pitchers attack Corey (Dickerson) and Colin (Moran) before I get up there,” said Bell. “But for the most part it’s just when I face the pitcher, I don’t think it’s my place in the order it’s more of my process which is working a bit better for me.”

As someone who has experienced both hot and cold streaks in his play throughout the entire season, Bell claims that the biggest challenges that he has faced to find consistency are more mental than physical.

“I’m just focusing on my process a little bit more and am trying to get a good pitch to hit,” said Bell.  “When I do, I have been putting them in play instead of fouling them off.  I’m squaring the ball up a tad bit more and I’m focusing on doing less; hopefully the results will come from the process rather than trying harder.”

Bell then went on to talk about how though his approach at the plate has not changed, the way he is being pitched to by his opponents has, saying “I try to make the pitchers throw to me. It took a few days for them to start attacking but I am starting to see that. We will see what the Reds got for me; I’ve got no problem making them come to me right now.”

Perhaps another thing that has led to Bell’s recent success at the plate is the small amount of rest he has received in the last 10 days, where David Freese has started twice at first base. Though even on his days off Bell still found his way into games as a pinch hitter, the recent down time certainly looks to have benefited Bell, who is hitting .353 in his last seven games going into the Pirates game on Saturday against the Reds .

When asked if having a few innings to relax has helped him get back into a groove, Bell, who has started or pinch hit in all 70 games for the Bucs this year said, “I wouldn’t ever say that I am tired at this point in the season; it is still early and the All-Star break hasn’t happened or anything but seeing the game from a different angle, taking a load off, and watching somebody else play goes a long way. Hopefully I can bounce back after.”