Is Luke Scott’s Slump Deja Vu or Just a Bad Stretch?

By David Hill

Last year, from June 1st through July 6th, Luke Scott went through a horrific slump at the plate, going 0-43 with one walk and 12 strikeouts. Even worse than his struggles were some of his quotes, saying that the slump “…caused me a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of tears. It really does hurt. It’s cut my heart in two.” Or when he stated that “If I wasn’t a Christian man I’d be an alcoholic or something. It would have drove me to drink.” Thankfully, Scott was able to break out of the slump, and pull his batting average up by over 30 points by the end of 2012.

Now, exactly a year later, Scott is in the beginning of another slump at the plate. Since his bunt hit against the shift in the top of the second against the Indians, Scott has gone 0-14 with four strikeouts. Of course, this streak is not yet at the point of last year’s struggles, but it is something to keep an eye on. Should Scott go hitless again in his next game, will his mind start to drift back to this time a year ago?

In 2012, there may have been other factors contributing to the his problems at the plate. He did miss 20 games with back spasms, and went back on the disabled list three weeks after being reactivated with an oblique strain. Meanwhile, he was still dealing with the aftereffects of a torn shoulder labrum that ended his 2011 season. This season, he started the year on the disabled list with a calf injury, but had been providing decent production since his return.

Perhaps Scott is just in the midst of a minor slump, just like every other ballplayer goes through over the course of the year. Perhaps this latest stretch is nothing to be concerned about. Then again, it may be something that he thinks of, particularly if he begins to get asked about last year’s slump, which started that the same time.

Even though there is less pressure upon Scott to produce this year given the way the rest of the lineup has played, they still cannot afford to have what may end up as virtually an automatic out in the lineup. He was given ample opportunity to pull himself out of that slump last year, but the Rays have more options now to fill in his spot in the lineup. Scott may simply not have that luxury this year.

Should Luke Scott continue to struggle, he may not get the same opportunity as he did last year to break out of his slump. And that may be in his mind more than what happened this time last year.