Games » Detroit TigersSep5
Well, it’s certainly nice to talk about someone else’s mistake costing them the game. In the first inning with Billy Butler on second and Kila Ka’aihue on first, Wilson Betemit hit a two-out fly ball to right. If you had to bet your house, you’d bet this was going to be caught … and right now you’d be living in a cardboard box.
The Tigers’ Brennan Boesch misplayed the excrement out of this ball. The correct play is to turn, race deep, get behind the spot where the ball will land, square up and catch it coming forward.
Instead, Brennan drifted…and drifted…and drifted. In fact, Brennan drifted farther than Tom Hanks in ‘Castaway’ and still ended up about one drift short. The ball landed on the warning track and bounced over the fence for an RBI double.
Come to think of it, this game had several plays that will mislead anyone looking at a box score.
Brayan Pena had another double that would normally be an out. It was a pop fly to left…let me start over…it was a pop fly to left that was right in the sun. Casper Wells tried to block the sun with his glove, but apparently the ball never came out. Casper wasn’t able to do that ‘turn to the side’ I’ve described that can get a new background behind the ball, so he did the next best thing: as long as you think cringing and getting hit with the ball is the next best thing.
And one final statistically-misleading play: When the opposition has runners at first and third, you’ll see the catcher come out from behind the plate, point at both bases and give a series of signs. He’s telling everyone what he’s going to do with the ball if the runner on first takes off. He might throw through to second, go to third for a pick-off, throw back to the pitcher or call for a defense that allows the option of the ball going through or being cut for a play at the plate.
Having considered all these possibilities, most of the time a team does nothing. The strategy is to put the pressure on the hitter…and if the hitter is good, the other team just opened a base for an intentional walk.
In this case the Royals decided to do nothing and let Austin Jackson take second. Now, through no fault of their own, Kyle Davies and Brayan Pena have one more stolen base on their records. Remember that the next time you look at statistics: the numbers can be misleading.
The even counts…
After the game Kyle Davies talked about the importance of the 0-0, 1-1 and 2-2 counts. What a pitcher does in even counts is important because the balance of power is about to shift. Think about a hitter being 2-1 versus 1-2…big difference. If a pitcher gets ahead, he can expand the zone (move the ball more towards the corners). If the pitcher falls behind he has to shrink the zone (move the ball more towards the center).
Watch a good pitcher and what you’ll see is aggression early in the count (strike one biting off a good size chunk of the zone) and then each subsequent pitch moving further and further away from the middle. Pitchers who are known to do this get a lot of early swings. Hitters know the first pitch might be the best pitch they’re going to see.
Watch a struggling pitcher and you’ll see the opposite: they nibble at the corners trying to throw a perfect pitch and if they miss, each subsequent pitch moves close and closer to the middle. Pitchers who are known to do this get a lot of patient hitters, deep counts and free trips to minor-league cities.
Pitchers have to trust their stuff, their defense and the odds: Be aggressive early and you’ve got a better chance than someone who only throws a strike when he has to.
Wow, sounds like the title of a good Western novel. But this dilemma has to do with Dusty Hughes. We were talking about Eddie Rodriguez and how third base coaches get buried when someone’s out at the plate, but no credit when they’re safe and Dusty said the same thing happens to him. Probably all middle relievers, come to think of it.
If they get their guys out, it’s lost between the victory and the save that we all pay attention to, but let them give up the tying or winning run and suddenly the reporters want to talk to them.
You can blame the media (and I do), but if we ran a story on every plane that landed safely and another story on a plane that crashed, which one would you read?
I’m not sure that people are really God’s finest work.