Games » Oakland AthleticsAug2
Baseball demands consistency and, right now, Brian Bannister isn’t showing it. I don’t know enough about pitching mechanics to spot the flaw in Brian’s delivery (and apparently, neither does anyone else), but something is happening that has one curve snapping off and another one hanging, one fastball hitting a spot and another one out over the plate.
It could be release point, that invisible spot in the air where your brain tells your hand to let go of the ball. That would explain all the pitches in the dirt, but if I knew more, there are probably a dozen other explanations…and that’s the problem.
When you’re inconsistent, finding the variable can be a nightmare. And just to make it even more complicated, it might not be physical. It might be something in your mental approach. Bannister is searching for the flaw that keeps him from being as good as he can be, but he’s running out of time.
Chris Getz had a doozy, forgetting a runner on third while arguing a call at second. This is what emotion does to you. Emotion is overrated by people who have seen too many sports movies (and I’ve seen just about all of them.)
The hero is getting his ass kicked until he gets MAD! Then he gets up off the floor and beats the hell out of the bully. In real life, getting mad just means you’ll summon up enough energy to get up off the floor to get knocked down again. You were on the floor because your opponent was bigger, stronger, faster or better prepared than you were. Unless you’re a Hollywood director, getting mad doesn’t change that.
“Trying harder might be the sign of a good person, but it’s not the sign of a good ballplayer.” That comes from a book on the mental side of baseball. A ballplayer wants to use the same steady approach whether it’s the World Series or spring training. Those are the true clutch players, not the ones who try to “rise to the occasion.” If you really could hit it farther, throw it harder or run faster, why aren’t you doing it all the time?
More games are lost than won. As illogical as it sounds, most pro athletes will tell you that. What it means is that the winner doesn’t do something fantastic to win. The loser does something dumb to give the game away. The winner just needs to keep up his steady approach: throwing strikes, making the routine play, swinging at good pitches until the loser does something to lose.
Like forgetting there’s a runner on third during an argument. Baseball encourages you to be emotional, but requires you to be rational. Just ask Chris Getz.
I’d like to see the latest numbers from Kevin Seitzer (and I’ll ask for them), but it seems like Mitch Maier is either getting a hit or hitting the ball hard a whole bunch. (“Whole bunch” is a technical term used by many physicists.)
Yuniesky Betancourt threw out a runner from the outfield grass, let a ball get past that looked stoppable with a dive and then dived to keep a Jason Kendall throw on the infield. Vanity, thy name might be woman, but I’ve got a pretty good idea what name inconsistency answers to.
Betancourt also got into a 2-1 count with a runner on first, perfect for a hit and run. He then did a double take while getting the signs. This let the opposition know something might be up and the Athletics threw over to first to see if they could get the runner. The Royals didn’t use the hit and run on the next pitch, and it might’ve been (and I have no way of knowing) because Yuni’s reaction let the cat out of the bag.
As detailed earlier, Bannister is having his own problems, but they’re extending to Jason Kendall. Brian didn’t seem focused on holding on runners, and a couple of them got great jumps on stolen bases.
At one point, the new pitcher, Greg Holland, rubbed up a baseball vigorously. Dan Quisenberry once showed me how sneaky pitchers will use their thumbnail during the rubbing-up process to raise the seams on the baseball. This gives a curveball more bite. Sure enough, Holland threw a curve after the rub-up, and a pretty good one at that. I’ve got no way of knowing, and I’d certainly never accuse a pitcher of cheating in his major-league debut, but if he did, we may have a keeper.