Jonathan Schoop didn't have a lot going for him two weekends ago when manager Buck Showalter kept him out of the starting lineup for three games in an effort to get him back on track, with his average as low as it had ever been and no floor in sight.
A lot has changed since. With his bases-loaded single in the ninth inning against the New York Yankees on Tuesday night, giving the Orioles their first walk-off win since Opening Day, Schoop clinched his sixth multi-hit game in nine starts since he came back from that hiatus, raising his average from .197 to .227 and his on-base-plus-slugging percentage from .587 to .660 in that span.
No one could have envisioned the return the Orioles have gotten since that reset.
"No, I couldn’t have," Showalter said. "Sometimes, you do those things just because you respect him and the players so much that sometimes they need that and you have to be that person to make that decision, because they need that and they’ll never tell you. Chris [Davis] will never tell you. They’re just not wound that way."
As for what caused his recent surge, Showalter said Schoop "got his approach really consistent." Whatever is behind it, the Orioles are benefiting from it plenty.
"Things are going my way," Schoop said. "The work that me and [hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh] put in [helped], and everybody that helped me, and [I] keep believing in myself, and going out there and compete and try to compete and win."
With that single off the glove of first baseman Greg Bird in the ninth inning, Schoop is now 16-for-37 (.432) with seven extra-base hits since returning from that reset. He'd have had a third home run instead of a fourth double had the call on the ball that bounced back into play off the top of the wall in the second inning had not been changed on replay review.
The small sample makes it difficult to pinpoint just what has changed about Schoop. His chase rate this month, entering Tuesday, was 44.1 percent, according to FanGraphs, up from 41.1 on the season. He's swinging more overall — 57.7 percent in July versus 56.2 for the season.
All that has really improved from a plate-discipline measurement standpoint is that Schoop entered Tuesday making contact on 95.2 percent of balls in the strike zone, well above his season mark of 83.9 percent. Simply put, Schoop doesn't seem to be missing his pitch when he's getting it. According to MLB Statcast data from BaseballSavant.com, Schoop's average exit velocity in July is 90.3 mph. It was 85 mph on June 30.
"When things start going your way, you start to get comfortable and you start getting good pitches to hit, and put good swings on them," Schoop said.