Slumping Martinez dropped to sixth in lineup

Slumping Martinez dropped to sixth in lineup

HOUSTON -- Astros left fielder J.D. Martinez was dropped to sixth in the batting order on Tuesday against the Marlins and went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, extending his slump to 1-for-30. Martinez had hit third in manager Brad Mills' lineup for much of the season.

Instead, Mills had switch-hitting shortstop Jed Lowrie in the No. 3 spot, while Travis Buck made his second consecutive start in right field, batting fifth.

"Jed's been swinging the bat real well and getting on base and seeing some pitches," Mills said. "I thought he fit right into the three spot a little bit. J.D. is kind of struggling, and I thought we'd drop him down. Buck is doing the same thing, seeing some pitches and getting hits, so we put him in the five spot and we'll go from there."

Martinez, who was hitting .310 with a .430 on-base percentage on April 27, has been swinging at pitches out of the strike zone, Mills said. Astros hitting coach Mike Barnett spent some extra with Martinez on Monday and Tuesday in an effort to get him back on track.

"The biggest thing for me is he got off to a real good start, and clubs saw that, they respected that and then he started taking his walks," Barnett said. "Then he got antsy because he's not getting hits, but he was walking two or three times a game. So then he starts trying to force the issue a little bit.

"Now we have to get him back in the strike zone and take what they're going to give him. If they're not going to pitch to you, take your walk. Eventually what's going to happen is they're going to have to come back in the strike zone for you, and you have to be disciplined enough to get the pitches you want to hit, and if not, then lay off them."