ESPN3 minute read
Trea Turner is starting to hear boos from frustrated Philadelphia fans at her slow start for the Phillies, and the star shortstop doesn’t blame them.
“I’m honest with myself, I sucked,” Turner said Monday after the Phillies’ loss to the Diamondbacks.
Turner is less than two months away from an 11-year, $300 million contract with the Phillies, who signed the two-time All-Star to much fanfare last December after their unlikely run at the 2022 World Series.
But early returns have been disappointing for Turner, who is batting .256 with four home runs, 11 RBIs and a .693 OPS in 46 games. The former National League batting champion also has 56 strikeouts in 208 plate appearances for a 26.9 percent strikeout rate, well above his career 18.5 percent strikeout rate.
Turner’s struggles have been even more pronounced lately, as he’s batted just .211 with 38 strikeouts in 120 plate appearances over his last 27 games. Fan frustration with Turner began boiling over on Sunday when he was booed in a home win over the Cubs, and those boos continued Monday as the Phillies lost for the sixth time in their last eight. games to fall to 22-25.
Despite what he admits is “probably” the worst crisis of his career, Turner said he tries to stay positive.
“Every at-bat, every play, every game is another day of trying to do better and trying to be the player that I know I am,” he said. “If you insist on yesterday or last at bat, it’s just going to snowball on you, you can’t turn it around.
“So I’m honest with myself. I tell myself frankly and I don’t lie to myself. I think I’m a positive guy. I think I can always do better and I can always be better. That’s the attitude that I have, but at the same time, I know when I’m not doing something right.”
Turner, 29, isn’t the only culprit when it comes to the Phillies’ offensive struggles. The defending NL champions enter Tuesday tied for 10th in the league in points (201), and other veteran stars, including Kyle Schwarber and JT Realmuto, also had slow starts at the plate.
Turner, a career .299 hitter, said he needed to make better decisions in terms of pitch recognition and “decision making,” but Phillies manager Rob Thomson said he was encouraged by some of Turner’s recent shots, saying, “He seems like he’s coming.”
“My first three fights (Sunday) and (Monday) were pretty brutal for the most part,” he said. “It’s just that consistency. If I think I can do it for four or five at-bats a day and then for a week and a month, then I’ll feel a little bit better and more satisfied. But you just have to fight. …I feel like it’s all decision making. The swing has been feeling pretty good for two, three weeks. But the decision making is pretty hit and miss.