The feeling of hitting a ball 453 feet is always therapeutic. But this one was a bit different for Bobby Dalbec.
That much was evident in the post-home run embrace with teammate J.D. Martinez and subsequent smiled-filled laundry cart ride down the visitors dugout at Yankee Stadium.
It was, as the Red Sox' first baseman put it while talking to WEEI.com at Fenway Park Wednesday, soup for the soul.
"I hugged J.D. He gave me the plan. He gave me the plan to go against (Yankees reliever Chad Green)," Dalbec said. "It was a good feeling. I needed that. Those kind of hits when you’re going through stuff like this are spiritually healing. Probably for everyone watching, too. I’m sure it’s not fun watching me be late and not do damage. I want to be great so I’m going to continue to work. That mindset has got me here."
"Spiritually healing" is something Dalbec is looking for more of these days. He is in a bad way with the bat right now, having watched his batting average drop to .185 with a .595 OPS. For the month, he has just that one hit in 22 at-bats.
"The pressure I put on myself is because I know what I can do and I know I’m not doing close of what I’m capable of doing," Dalbec explained. "That’s what bothers me. That’s what kind of makes me feel the pressure, just from myself. I can’t control what other people feel about me.
"I feel like everyone goes through it. I’m just going through it a little bit longer than I would like to. A lot of other guys clean it up quicker. I wouldn’t say I have a complex swing, but I just have a bigger gather and long levers so I really ned to tighten things up and be more conscious of it. … I just need to be more on top of it."
There are positives within Dalbec's downturn. As he points out, when putting the ball in play he is in the 94th percentile of all major league hitters when it comes to barreling baseballs.
:All year, results aside, I feel like I have hit the ball hard a lot, at people a lot," he noted. "To me the numbers don’t feel as bad as they look. But obviously I need to be better. I’m not trying to get around that. I have been late. It’s been tough for me to be early, for some reason, whether it’s because of pressing of the numbers or trying to contribute more. I put a lot of pressure on myself and try and be a perfectionist. It’s not going to happen."
There is also a defensive acumen that has been particularly noticeable when picking errant throws at first base.
"I really have tried to separate offense and defense. That’s something I’ve been proud of myself on," Dalbec added. "Whether it’s picking balls, picking guys up. Some balls are still uncomfortable for me, especially when I’m playing halfway over to second base. It’s different. It’s weird. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t have a ton of games at first base so I’m happy with the way I have played over there and I’m going to continue to work on that. Everyone is trying to win a Gold Glove and I talk about that every day to myself. That’s a goal, for sure."
But, at this level it's still going to be a results business. And when it comes to consistent offensive production, business has to be better for Dalbec. It's a reality isn't shying away from.
"A lot of people have said this, but it’s never as bad as it seems and it’s never as good as it seems," he said. "Whatever the numbers look like, in the big picture I feel like I have hit the ball hard with shitty luck. Also, I have given a bunch of at-bats away so it goes hand in hand. You have to keep grinding through it. Things will turn."