ST. PETERSBURG -- Ben Zobrist is on a tear.
After recording multiple hits in each of his last five games, he tied the longest such streak of his career (July 11-19, 2009) and it is the longest for a Rays player since Evan Longoria went six games from Aug. 31-Sept. 5, 2009. He had just one multiple hit game in his previous 19 games.
Following a three-game series against the Yankees, Zobrist left New York on June 7 carrying a .200 batting average. Entering Saturday night's contest against the Marlins he had a .235 average.
"I just feel a lot more comfortable at the plate, and I feel like my hands are working and seeing all the pitches well, so that's good," Zobrist said.
When asked if he experienced a moment where he suddenly "got it" Zobrist said he stayed up one night talking to Drew Sutton, his former roommate and teammate. During their conversation, they talked about various hitting things including the way you feel at the plate and he "just figured some things out."
"I'm really thankful that he's been here and he's helped me out," Zobrist said.
Zobrist talked with hitting coach Derek Shelton the next day, then worked on specific things to make it happen in a game.
"Those two guys have been a big help to me, and since then, it's been going good," Zobrist said.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said the biggest difference he's seen in Zobrist is the fact he's not "rolling the ball over as much as he had been" and he's "staying through the ball better."
"He's hitting both the fastball and the breaking ball right now which is nice to see," Maddon said. "I think he's seeing the ball, but primarily from a technical perspective, he's staying through the ball better."