Bees infielder Grant Green has learned an important lesson while working his way up the rungs of professional baseball - you’re never as good as you look during your hot stretches or as bad as you appear when you’re going cold.
But with that in mind, Green said there is reason to ride the optimism of a hot start to the season, something he and several other Bees have done. After Salt Lake’s 6-5, 12-inning win over the Fresno Grizzlies on Tuesday, Green is hitting .423 with a 1.021 OPS.
Salt Lake 6, Fresno 5 (12 inn.)C.J. Cron’s walk-off homer in the bottom of the 12th gives the Bees a 6-5 win over the Grizzlies
» Bees shortstop Tommy Field’s fifth-inning error allows the Grizzlies to score four unearned runs, extending the game into extras.
"Everyone wants to get off to a hot start because it eases you into the season," Green said. "... You try to ride it out as long as possible. You try to sneak in a couple hits here and there, maybe a bunt for a base hit or something to keep it going."
First baseman Efren Navarro, who is off to a similarly scorching start as Green, hitting .391 with a .952 OPS, said players can begin to press when they don’t start the season well. But while he’s happy to be avoiding that this season, he knows he also can’t read too much into early results, which can be skewed by a small sample size.
"A hot start is a big relief," he said. "You get to relax a lot more. But this game, you can’t get too high. You have to make sure you’re even-keeled throughout the entire year."
Being able to keep the hot streaks in perspective comes with experience. And it leads to learning how to handle the cold streaks, too, which is a lesson that sometimes doesn’t come quick.
"I’ve been around for so long that it’s something that I’ve learned," Navarro said. "It wasn’t easy - I’ve had my moments where I’d throw my helmet, throw the bat."
But once a player does finally learn that cold streaks are inevitable, it makes them easier to deal with. Which is why Green said there would be little reason to panic if his hot start had instead been a dry spell.
"If you get off to a slow start, you know you still have four or five more months to pick it back up," Green said. "Baseball is a funny game. You never know what’s going to happen."
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