Big fly, big relief: Zunino works his way out of slump

CLEVELAND — There wasn’t a night that Mike Zunino was leaving the ballpark thinking about anything other than how he could get better for his team. Even when he’s in a good stretch, he says, he’s constantly fixated on improvement. But it seems safe to say it would’ve been harder the last few weeks based off of his body language.

Zunino was almost willing his 341-foot fly ball over the right-field wall at Progressive Field. He stared at it from the second it left his bat until it finally squeaked over the fence as he was halfway to second base. He needed this to go in his favor after having one of the roughest skids any Guardians player has encountered this year. And when he finally saw that it was a home run, he couldn’t help but pump his fists. He gave his club some much-needed insurance runs to help secure a 3-0 victory over the White Sox on Monday night.

“You got to just continue to work and a lot of the times, there’s as many good stretches as there is bad,” Zunino said.

Zunino can only hope that’s true. Entering Monday night, he ranked toward the bottom of nearly every offensive category:

Expected batting average: 1st percentileStrikeout percentage: 1st percentileExpected slugging percentage: 1st percentileWhiff percentage: 1st percentileAverage exit velocity: 16th percentileHard hit percentage: 22nd percentile