ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It would be convenient to credit the rattail. Luke Scott’s quirky hair design, which looks like something gifted from the 1980s, does not hold mythical powers or mysterious sources of strength.
But there is something odd, interesting . . . cool . . . about Scott’s style choice, which made its debut at the start of the Tampa Bay Rays’ current 10-game homestand last Friday. His recent numbers tell a hair-follicle fantasy: After the Rays’ 7-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Monday, Scott is 7 for 14 with three RBI in this run at home, and it would be irresponsible to ignore the coincidence.
Can a thin piece of braided hair be credited for a hot streak? Sure, that seems like a stretch. But Scott has figured something out at the plate, even if his new look has some scratching their heads.
“He’s definitely feeling good about himself,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “He worked good at-bats. I’ve liked his at-bats for several days.”
Scott hit well again Monday. In the first inning, he smacked his sixth home run of the season, a 394-foot solo shot to right-center field off right-hander Samuel Deduno. He finished 1 for 4, extending his hitting streak with the rattail to four games.
With or without assistance from his Hair Power, this has been quite a turnaround for him. In late May, after a home victory over the Miami Marlins, the 35-year-old designated hitter described chasing success in the majors this way: “Just imagine if you had a tail, and you go around and around trying to catch it, and you can’t.”
Lately, Scott has caught up with a target that has seemed elusive at various times throughout his career. He has seen his batting average rise from a season-low .207 after play June 12 to .262. In that stretch, his on-base percentage has increased from .311 to .342, and he has reason to be confident in his recent play.
And of course, the hair.
“I would say it’s pretty good,” Scott said of his run before the game Monday.
“This year, my batting average with runners in scoring position has been really good. I get a base hit and drive in one run here and drive in another run. It’s different when you hit a grand slam and then the next day, you hit a two-run [base hit]. That’s six RBIs in two swings.”
On Monday, Scott made his second start of the season in the No. 2 slot, partly because Maddon had been impressed with the hitter’s improved decision-making at the plate. Scott made that choice seem wise with the home run, another chapter to add to this growing legend.
Hair Power? Try power from within.
“I can’t say it enough, but our guys are staying within their strike zone,” Maddon said, “and that’s why they’ve been hitting so well.”
That is particularly true for Scott, who has gone retro with a look that, apparently, works for him . . . both above and inside his head.