With their backs against the wall, the Sacramento River Cats came out fighting on Friday night in…
But, in the last two games of the homestand and on the road trip, Thompson finally found his groove at the plate. He batted .382 over a ten-game span and also had nine RBI. Along with some success in the team's latest homestand, Thompson has raised his average to .267.
Thompson attributed breaking out of the slump to the confidence he has had in himself throughout his career.
"You have doubts, but you have to trust your track record," Kevin Thompson said. "If you're a .300 hitter, you know how you've done it before, so you know you can do it again."
One factor that Thompson attributed to his poor performance at the plate was due to the fact he spent time with the Major League Yankees earlier in the season, and played sparingly. On April 6th, Thompson was promoted from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after just three games.
His time in the majors was very short lived however. He appeared in only six games for the Yankees, batting .250. Thompson was eventually demoted back down to Scranton on April 26th and when he came back to Northeastern Pennsylvania, he struggled at the plate for numerous reasons.
"It's always great to go to the big leagues and play, but I really didn't play much so I kind of got out of my groove," Thompson admitted. "From not playing so much up there, to playing everyday here, it's kind of hard to get acclimated and get your timing down. It's part of the game and I just have to deal with it."
"If you worry about it [a hitting slump], you tend to struggle a little more," Thompson stated, remaining positive during his slump. "So, you just have to just let it go and play."
Another thing Thompson did not do during his slump, a credit to his professionalism at the plate, was change his hitting philosophy or plan of attack.
"I didn't make any swing changes," he revealed. "I just have to start a little early, get down, and put the bat on the ball. I'm just going to try and do this everyday and hopefully it continues to work."
Another person who never lost confidence in Thompson during his skid was his manager, Dave Miley.
"I never once lost confidence in Kevin," Miley admitted. "We moved him down in the lineup to get him some more RBI situations, but confidence-wise, it was just the opposite. Butch [Wynegar, the hitting coach) and I told him that number don't lie, we know what you've done in the past and right now, that's what he's doing."
Hitting .278 in the month of May, he has raised his average from .190 to .267 over his last 15 games, batting .337 over that stretch. Thompson, however, still believes he can improve his play.
"I would rate my performance on the year at about a C+," he said. "I haven't really been playing that well. I just have to come to the park everyday and work hard. I know I'll start coming around."
"Coming around" is what Thompson has been doing in the last two weeks. After his successful road trip, Thompson returned home to Scranton and continued to contribute.
In the first three games of the ten-game homestand, Thompson has hit a double, a home run, forced three walks, stolen two bases (to bring his total on the year to 11) and has scored three runs. In a 4-3 win over Indianapolis on Friday, Thompson scored the game-winning run in extra innings after leading off the inning with a single.
"He's swinging the bat just as good as anyone," Miley said. "He's our leadoff hitter, getting on base, stealing bases, that's what he brings to the table. He is a very important part of our team."