Thursday, May 12, 2005

One. Two. Three Strikes, He's Out

There's a line of thinking that strikeouts don't matter; that they're the same as any other sort of out. I agree with that to a point.

Proponents of that argument point to Jim Thome as an example. He's a man who strikes out 150 times a year, but he does it in the context of power. He's waiting for that one pitch he can swing his hips around and turn on to drive it 500 feet. That he also walks 120 times a year is an additional bonus.

They also point to how not putting the ball in play reduces double plays. Think about how often you've seen a player hit a slow tapper to one of the infielders when he's behind the count.

Overall, they claim, the positive and negative effects cancel each other out.

What the spreadsheet sort don't factor in is it's ugly baseball.

There's nothing more maddening as purely a fan than watching your batters flail at pitches in and out of the zone. Even though none of us can approach any of those players in ability, there's something that seems so simple about just putting the bat on the damn ball.

Even poor Jamey Caroll who chokes up on the bat so high you can see more handle than barrel couldn't get the ball in play two nights ago. Sometimes it just happens.

But, for true agony and ecstasy, you need look no further than yesterday's Lame Duck winner, Brad Wilkerson.

The Kentucky Flailer continued his on-again, off-again streak. With him, it's either four hits or four strikeouts.

Last night was closer to the latter.

It's maddening to watch sometimes, especially when he strands runners on base in three innings. But, I guess that's the price you have to pay for all the homeruns and the never-ending parade of doubles.


Claudio Vargas pitched well -- better than I expected, certainly. If he can keep up the kind of command he had yesterday, especially earlier in the game, he'll be a nice addition to the staff.

Carlos Baerga (seen here lunging for a ground ball) proved that he's not a major league second basemen. He showed he has the lateral mobility of a hell, I dunno. Imagine something inert.

He even showed that his refined motor skills have atrophied. With the bases loaded, Vinny Castilla snared a sharp liner, and fired to second to double off Javier Vazquez. Baerga had the glove ready and waiting for the throw. But, apparently he was tired and didn't feel like moving it to actually catch the throw. The ball rolled into center field and Arizona scored a run they shouldn't have.

Jon Rauch took the loss, pitching a pretty ineffective inning. The final hit sent Troy Glaus trodding around third. Jose Guillen appeared to have a good shot at nailing him at the plate, fielding the ball in shallow right. Adrenaline or something got the best of him, because he practically put it in the press box.

Frank didn't appear to have any senior moments, but the fact that he's relying on Tony Blanco as a pinch hitter in key spots of the game is an indictment against this team's roster construction, injuries or not. Matt Cepicky, a left-handed corner outfielder, is slapping the crap out of the ball in New Orleans, and our only options here are Blanco or the washed-up Jeff Hammonds? Oy.


Post a Comment

<< Home