Games » Detroit TigersJun4
According to Brian Bannister, the pitchers had a meeting about all the walks they’d issued and decided to be more aggressive, throw strikes and live with the results. The pitching has been better overall ever since. Bruce Chen faced 22 batters and according to my scorecard (which I might’ve screwed up while laughing at Will Ferrell screaming, “C’MON CHEN!” even when he wasn’t in the game) Bruce had 2 strikes on 15 of them.
Is it my imagination or does Bruce chew his gum harder when things are going well?
A glitch in time
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Another brick near the wall
Scott Podsednik got an error when he dropped a fly ball while approaching the left field corner. Meanwhile, David DeJesus got points for making a tough play against the wall in the right field corner. Approaching the wall is distracting enough, but doing it while fans hang out over the wall above you, is even tougher. It’s the equivalent of driving, talking on your cell phone and trying to pick up a quarter off your floor mat … while six fans try to beat you to the quarter.
A couple kinds of base running
Podsednik picked up points for a couple cases of good base running: In the second he either got a great read on Kendall’s sinking liner in center, or got very lucky that it wasn’t caught. (I prefer to think positively in this case). Either way he was able to go first to third on the play.
He later scored on DeJesus’s single, but David lost points when he failed to read the cutoff man being in position. The throw was low enough to cut, and David was caught between bases to kill a two-out rally with Butler coming to the plate. Not a good risk when Kendall was already in scoring position.
Later, in the sixth, Podesdnik was able to pull the move David attempted, advancing on a throw to another base. There are two keys to this base running play: is the cutoff man in position and is the throw low enough to be cut?
If the answer to either of these questions is no, the runner can advance. You can see how the teams that methodically execute these fundamentals, play after play, game after game, have an advantage over teams that don’t execute as well or consistently.
This boring attention to details leads to exciting results. I once read a book about the attitudes successful athletes possess. It contained this quote, “Champions make a habit of doing what others find boring.”
These kinds of plays, that seem fairly meaningless in a game the Royals won by four, will decide the outcome in a game lost by one.
Jason Kendall got picked off first, but may have been going on “first movement.” There was a lefty on the mound and, as I explained earlier, when runners can’t read the pitcher’s move to first, they’ll sometimes roll the dice and go on his first movement.
Speaking of movement
In the fifth inning Podsednik scored on a sacrifice fly from David DeJesus. The ball was caught by Johnny Damon in left. Damon’s known for having a weak arm, but he was fairly shallow when he made the catch. The key was lateral movement. He was still going sideways when he caught the ball which means a weak throw to the infield.
Keep an eye on lateral movement in the outfield, and you’ll know when runners can advance. Your date will find you boring, but you’ll enjoy the game more…and if you’ve got to choose: baseball will always be there, he/she probably won’t.
(Just the kind of advice that will put my kids in therapy for years.)