PITTSBURGH -- Coming off a terrific August in which he drove in 28 runs, Astros left fielder J.D. Martinez entered Tuesday hitting .133 (2-for-15) in September with no homers or RBIs. With that in mind, he was out of the lineup for only the second time since July 31.
Martinez, who was called up July 29 when Hunter Pence was traded to the Phillies, admitted a day out of the lineup may do him some good mentally. J.B. Shuck started in left field and batted third.
"I call it too much mind," he said. "Sometimes you have to let your instincts take over and sometimes I get caught up in it. Sometimes you think you're smarter than the game and you begin to feel what they're going to throw you and you start guessing. Once you start guessing, it's hard to get away from it. I feel it will be definitely useful. I don't mind days like this. I felt it coming."
Martinez, who's hitless in his last nine at-bats, told hitting coach Mike Barnett he didn't feel like himself lately, but he's not doing anything different mechanically. With a day off, Martinez plans to try not to think about hitting, which is admittedly hard.
"It's hard to do, because hitting is what I do," he said. "It's funny, because I always say it's who I am. I could go in the cage and hit for hours. I hate running, I hate going to the gym, I hate doing everything else. But hitting is what I love to do, so it's just tough when you're going through something like this, and I'm hoping I can get out of it quick. I'm hoping the day off will help me clear my mind and I'll start fresh tomorrow."