Games » Chicago White SoxMay16
The game of baseball is designed to make sure that at some point, everybody fails. Everybody. So if everybody is going to fail, reaction to failure is important. Did you fail because your approach was poor and needs to be adjusted? Did you fail because you were unlucky and no adjustment is necessary? Will you dwell on one failure and let it turn into two? Or will you maintain focus and limit the damage?
Yesterday, I speculated that Luke Hochevar may have lost focus after a play was not made behind him. Today, I’ll speculate that the same thing may have happened to the White Sox Gavin Floyd.
After Mike Aviles’ pop fly behind short was not caught, Floyd gave up three hits in a row, which led to three runs. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski was seen making gestures toward the pitcher, gestures that seemed to be urging him to get his head back in the game…or at least remove it from somewhere else.
In the “Mental ABCs of Pitching,” sports psychologist H.A. Dorfman says a pitcher can have many problems: tough hitter at the plate, he doesn’t like the mound, the umpire is squeezing him or his defense sucks…but a pitcher has only one solution: focus on the glove and throw a quality pitch.
Failure to do so turns one problem into two.
So, remember the next time you watch a game: the pitch that gave up a home run may not be as important as the next one.
Again with the walks…
Even when they don’t score, walks are costly. In the seventh inning, the lefty Hughes is brought in to face the lefty Kotsay. Hughes walks him. Kotsay was hitting .167 at the beginning of the game, so making him swing the bat might’ve been a good idea. The walk pushes Rios, who had been on first, to second.
Pierzynski flies out to Maier in center, Rios tags up and heads for third.
I thought Maier’s throw had a chance of getting him, but it was cut off, so maybe it was off-line. (The cutoff man is positioned by the player behind him and then told what to do, as in, “Cut two”… which means cut it and throw to second…or “Cut and hold”…which means there’s no play, just catch the ball and freeze the runners.)
Ramirez now singles, which brings in Rios from third. Without the walk, the odds say Rios (or Kotsay, if he’d hit into a fielder’s choice) would still be at first when Ramirez got his hit.
Breaking up the double play…
Ron Polk told me not to change my mind halfway through the season once I decide how to score some of these categories, it would screw things up. One of the hard categories to judge is breaking up the double play. Even when you slow things down on the DVR, it’s often hard to detect how disruptive the runner was to the pivot man.
So…I’m giving points anytime a runner gets into the pivot man and a likely double play isn’t completed. I want to look for the positive as well as the negative, and appreciating a baserunner’s hustle seems appropriate.
Aviles and DeJesus picked up points for going first to third. They got good reads and recognized that the outfielders were moving laterally and would be unlikely to get off strong throws.
One of the things I like about Ron Polk’s system is it encourages you to break the game down into its smaller components. It makes you focus on how a run is scored or a rally created.
Good teams think small. They fight for every base and do everything they can to deny a base to the opposition. This system allows us to recognize the players who do that.