Games » Atlanta BravesJun18
Pitches have three qualities: velocity, movement and location. Generally, a pitcher needs two out of three to be successful. In this game Brian Bannister had one: movement. In fact, he moved a couple of pitches right into the ground. That’s two more wild pitches for a total of eight, which is a lot for a control guy.
If Brian doesn’t have movement AND location, he’s probably going to have a rough night…and he did.
Oh yeah, just to keep up the most consistent theme of this website: two walks scored and the Royals lost by two. IT’S MAGIC!
Pitching according to plan…
The Royals prepare a plan of attack for their pitchers at the beginning of each series. If they decide they’re going to pitch a batter away (they may go in for show, but they’ll stay away for strikes), they’ll set up their defense accordingly (shifted to the opposite field).
There IS another way to go about it.
The first time Danny Jackson pitched for me, I asked him how he wanted the defense set up. He told me, “Put ‘em in the bare spots, they’re there for a reason.” After I got done laughing, I asked him to explain.
He said he didn’t know what pitch he was going to throw until he saw the results from the last one. If a batter was diving to cover a low and away pitch, Danny knew he could go inside next. If the batter ripped a pitch inside foul, Danny knew the outside lane was now open.
Danny wanted his defense to play straight up to give him flexibility in pitch selection. He didn’t want to find himself in the position of wanting to pitch inside, but not being able to because the defense was swung around the other way.
Danny Jackson has two World Series rings, so I gave him what he wanted…plus, he’s bigger than me and I’m scared of him.
Rule of thumb…
If a batter fouls a pitch straight back, his timing is dead on, but he’s under. The pitcher can now go higher (climb the ladder) or change speeds to get out of the batter’s timing. If the batter pulls the ball foul, he’s early. The pitcher can throw the next pitch even slower. If the batter is late, the pitcher can move farther in.
What the pitcher doesn’t want to do is solve the batter’s problem for him. So if the guy’s early, you don’t switch to a harder pitch that gets the hitter back on time.
As with everything in baseball, there are exceptions. If you’re throwing to Tony Gywnn (sorry, about pulling out a retired player, but he’s one of my favorites), you can go to the well too often. Tony would adjust quickly. If you’re throwing to me, you can keep throwing the same stinking pitch over and over and I won’t have the skill to do anything about it.
In fact, I believe Jerry Dipoto threw me the same pitch for about two years running and I STILL haven’t adjusted.
Jason Kendall’s stamina…
Fans (and the media) tend to overreact to streaks, good ones and bad ones. The truth is all ballplayers are going through streaks all the time. If the streak gets long enough for someone to notice, then it becomes an issue.
Jason Kendall is going through a bad streak in terms of getting hits, so people are starting to talk about him being tired and needing to sit more. I have no idea if that’s true. I’ve never watched him closely for a full season before, so I don’t know what he’s capable of doing.
But before he gets sent to the bench for a rest he may not need, it’s important to remember he’s still being productive on both sides of the ball. He could hit like me (and I couldn’t hit Egypt if I fell off a pyramid) and I’d still want him out there for his defense.
You might also consider that Kendall’s hitting in the 2-hole. If a guy in the 2-spot takes a couple strikes while allowing the leadoff man to steal second and then hits a weak 4-3 to move the runner to third, that’s a hell of an at-bat.
Jason went 1-4 with a couple of strikeouts in this game, 1-2 with a couple of walks the night before and hit a sac fly, moved a runner to third, had a walk and then a groundout the night before that.
That’s 12 trips to the plate and seven of them were productive. Don’t get caught up in batting average. Look for the positive things that don’t show up in the numbers. (The way I swing the bat, I have to.)