Markakis has seen bat go cold

Markakis has seen bat go cold

TORONTO -- Nick Markakis has 13 games to make a statement. Markakis has gone cold down the stretch, posting a powerless September that threatens to recast his productive season. Markakis heads into the series with the Blue Jays on the heels of a 2-for-26 skid and with just one extra-base hit in his past 72 at-bats.

And if Orioles manager Dave Trembley has anything to do with it, Markakis may get a day off to think about his stroke. Trembley said that may help in the short run, giving Markakis an extra jolt toward the finish line.

"I think his timing's off a little," said Trembley of Markakis, who has been batting in the cleanup slot for much of the past month. "He's probably trying too hard. He might get a day [off on Tuesday]. I'm not sure yet."

Markakis has been one of the Orioles' most consistent players for much of his tenure, and his season shows two bad months and four strong ones. Markakis hit .290 or better in April, June, July and August, but he hit .240 with a .281 on-base percentage in May and has hit .203 with a .219 slugging mark in September.

And that slump has been even more glaring because of the context. Baltimore traded veteran hitters Aubrey Huff and Gregg Zaun in August and lost center fielder Adam Jones to the disabled list. That leaves Markakis and veteran Brian Roberts as the bellwethers of the Baltimore offense, and Markakis has struggled to keep up.

Still, the former first-round Draft pick has been relatively productive. Markakis is hitting .293 with 16 home runs and 94 RBIs for the season. He had been batting third for most of the season, but Trembley doesn't think Markakis has altered his approach to bat cleanup or that it's affected him in any profound way.

"I think he wants to get to 100 [RBIs], but I don't think it matters where he hits," said Trembley. "He's a good hitter."

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.