Contreras went hitless in three at-bats during Monday’s loss to the Giants, dropping his batting average to .201 — over 50 points below his career mark. The three-time All-Star is just 5-for-63 over his last 19 games for the last-place Cardinals.
“This is my first time since I’ve been in the big leagues that I have struggled this bad,” Contreras told MLB.com after Monday’s 4-3 loss. “I think I’ve lost my confidence and I lost my trust, and lost the trust that I came into the season with. It just went away.”
Contreras, 31, signed a five-year, $87.5 million deal with the Cardinals in December after spending his first seven seasons with the rival Cubs but has struggled to replace franchise icon Yadier Molina.
Contreras said he has been “hitting the ball hard” and running into some bad luck, as evidenced by his expected batting average of .246, according to MLB Statcast. But he also said he has to “keep going” in order to help the disappointing Cardinals (27-40) turn around their season.
“I don’t think, I know I have to keep going,” he told MLB.com. “Right now, I have to find ways to get myself going. I’ve been hitting the ball hard, but right to people. That’s something that is out of my control, but man, I just have to keep playing hard one play at a time and be the best that I can for the team and my teammates.”
Contreras, who reclaimed his spot as the Cardinals’ everyday catcher after being temporarily removed from the role last month, said he is trying to remain positive in what has been a rough season.
“It’s been really hard, like a roller coaster,” he told MLB.com. “I don’t know if baseball is trying to show me something I’m not seeing, or maybe I just need to look at it a different way.
“But I’ll tell you what — every time I come here, I’ll come with a smile and try to find ways to win a game. I’m trying to be better for our team.”