If Kent Matthes had his way, Sacramento would be the Sky Sox's opponent every day.
The 26-year-old outfielder hit a pair of solo home runs Wednesday night in Colorado Springs' 7-5 loss to the River Cats, continuing a torrid streak against one of the Pacific Coast League's top teams. Matthes, who was called up from Double-A Tulsa on June 22, has hit six of his eight Triple-A round-trippers against Sacramento and raised his season average to .301 with the 2-for-4 night.
"I was just trying to react," said Matthes, who is 13-for-30 (.433) with 10 RBIs in eight games against the River Cats. "The first one was a fastball that was up and in, and the next one was a fastball up and away. I've been working on some things like working the middle of the field and stay short to the ball, and it worked out there."
Matthes was 4-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs in his Triple-A debut against Sacramento on June 22, but spent nearly a month on the disabled list with back spasms from late June to late July. He rejoined the squad July 20 and promptly went 1-for-4 with an RBI two days later against the River Cats.
While he says his stellar stats against Sacramento are simply happenstance, Matthes has enjoyed facing its pitching staff.
"I think it's just a coincidence," said Matthes, who has 19 RBIs in 33 games for the Sky Sox. "I've been waiting for it to click all year, and it finally clicked up here (in Triple-A) in that series in Sacramento."
Coming back from the back spasms has been tough for the former Alabama star, but he knows it is part of the game.
"I've been working hard with our hitting coach Dave Hajek and have been working on some things to get back to where I was when I first got up here," Matthes said. "I was hot and went down for a couple weeks, and now I'm just trying to get back to form and finish the season strong."
Sky Sox manager Glenallen Hill has been impressed with what he's seen from the 6-foot-2, 215-pounder.
"Kent Matthes is a young player who's trying to establish himself as a power hitter, and I think he's learning how to play the game and has done a pretty good job so far," Hill said. "I think any time you have a player who goes down with that type of injury, you know it's going to take a little time before he feels like himself. Kent has progressed from that injury slowly, but steadily."
A nice two-fer
The back-to-back home runs hit by Ben Paulsen and Matthes in the sixth inning marked the fourth time this season that Sky Sox hitters have homered on consecutive at-bats. Three of the four occasions have come at Security Service Field, and Paulsen has been involved in three of the four. The home run was Paulsen's 55th extra-base hit of the season, tying him for the Pacific Coast League lead with Wilmer Flores of the Las Vegas 51s.