Joyce trying to uncover offensive struggles for Angels
Matt Joyce was benched for Sunday's Angels game because of his struggles at the plate, but when he had a chance to come through he did.
Joyce entered the Angels' 8-1 loss to the A's in the eighth inning as a defensive substitution, then came up with a hit in that inning.
It didn't matter in the game, but it surely mattered much to Joyce and his ability to uncover what's plagued him offensively. Joyce was dealt from Tampa Bay in the trade that sent Kevin Jepsen from the Angels to the Rays, and he's yet to find a groove here.
Perhaps, that hit could be the start of unraveling a nearly season-long struggle to hit with a new team.
"Could be. I hope so," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of that. "I think anything positive with Matt right now, for his confidence, is nice. I don't think he over-thought it. He went out there and got a good pitch to hit and hit a bullet to right field. Hopefully, he'll exhale a little bit and find his swing."
Asked what Joyce's status was before Sunday's game, Scioscia said: "struggling.
"Matty needs to exhale for sure. He needs to find some things in his game. In the batter's box, he's not in sync and squaring balls up. He's much better than he's shown. Might be close to 180-200 plate appearances. He just hasn't found it."
Joyce is batting just .183 with 17 home runs and 4 RBIs. He probably won't be in Monday's lineup either since Arizona is starting a lefthanded pitcher in Robbie Ray.
The Angels need outfield depth, and they're working out plenty of guys in left field, such as Kyle Kubitza, Taylor Featherston and even second baseman Johnny Giavotella who has played some outfield.
Joyce will still have opportunities to work his way back into the lineup as the starting left fielder.
"... It's a lot more fun when you do well. It's a lot more fun when you win," Joyce said. "Sometimes, it's a tough game. You ride the ups and downs and try to relax and play as hard as you can and other than that, let them fall where they may."
Joyce and Scioscia talked before the game, and Scioscia imparted some advice.
"One of his big things was you've just got to find a way to compete," Joyce said. "You're not always going to feel great. Your swing isn't always going to feel great, and you might not always see the ball that great, but you've got to find a way to compete.
"You have eight other guys on the field that are out there competing and counting on you and relying on you. It's a tough game sometimes. It's definitely something that will beat you down if you let it. You can't really ride the roller coaster of the highs and lows. For me, I'm going to try to go relax and have fun, play the game and compete and try to help the team win."