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 Post subject: Putting the ball in play v. Striking Out
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:03 pm 
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Sometimes it results in a shallow fly ball to right field and nothing good comes of it (McCutchen in the 8th)
Sometimes it results in an opposite field hit that lands right on the line for (Barmes in the 4th)
Sometimes it results in a long fly out to left field that allows a heads-up runner to advance (Alvarez in the 8th)
Sometimes it results in a wicked line shot that is caught by the centerfielder but allows the runner on third to score (McCutchen in 5th)

All better - much better - than a strike out.

Cutch K's in the 5th, does Marte end up scoring?
Alvarez K's in the 8th, does Walker end up scoring?

It may not show up in black-and-white but those were incredibly key plate appearances which, had they resulted in strike outs, likely would have us talking about trying to win the fourth game of the series today - not a sweep.

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Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: Putting the ball in play v. Striking Out
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:04 pm 
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I don't think anybody has ever said that striking out is better than hitting the ball.

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 Post subject: Re: Putting the ball in play v. Striking Out
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:08 pm 
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Is it just me or are they taking a lot less called strike threes recently? Guys seem to be protecting the strike zone more, fouling things off with two strikes. I am especially thinking of Sanchez (G) staying alive and drawing a key walk the other night.


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 Post subject: Re: Putting the ball in play v. Striking Out
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:13 pm 
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SUPERCHARGED APE wrote:
I don't think anybody has ever said that striking out is better than hitting the ball.


There have been arguments advanced over the years that an out is an out is an out; that an out is a failed at bat no matter what form it comes in and those who complain about strike outs are misguided.

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Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: Putting the ball in play v. Striking Out
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:29 pm 
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Putting the ball in play is obviously so much better. One of the beautiful and frustrating things about baseball is that so many hard-hit balls are outs, and so many weakly hit balls are not outs.

I believe I am seeing better at bats from the Pirates just in the last 10 days or so.

But still, last night Martin looked at a fastball down the middle for strike 3. If you are in "protect the plate" mode, don't you at least take a late slap at that ball and maybe foul it off?


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 Post subject: Re: Putting the ball in play v. Striking Out
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:39 pm 
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And anytime that debate was advanced in the past, No. 9, I have been firmly in your corner. I think it comes down to another issue that has been debated here over the years, that of cutting down one's swing in an effort to protect the strike zone and put the ball in play. And there is no better example of this in this series than Alex Presley's at bat in game 1 the other day. He was clearly over-matched- that guy probably gets him out 9 times out of 10. I was screaming at the TV, "Just slap it somewhere!" And he did just that. Got a little lucky, but luck sometimes happens when you put the ball in play.


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 Post subject: Re: Putting the ball in play v. Striking Out
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:43 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
SUPERCHARGED APE wrote:
I don't think anybody has ever said that striking out is better than hitting the ball.


There have been arguments advanced over the years that an out is an out is an out; that an out is a failed at bat no matter what form it comes in and those who complain about strike outs are misguided.



The way I always took it is that some powerful high-strikeout players can still offer quite a bit of value. I also think much of the philosophy is that it's rarely a good idea to give away outs.

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 Post subject: Re: Putting the ball in play v. Striking Out
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:59 pm 
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SUPERCHARGED APE wrote:
No. 9 wrote:
SUPERCHARGED APE wrote:
I don't think anybody has ever said that striking out is better than hitting the ball.


There have been arguments advanced over the years that an out is an out is an out; that an out is a failed at bat no matter what form it comes in and those who complain about strike outs are misguided.



The way I always took it is that some powerful high-strikeout players can still offer quite a bit of value. I also think much of the philosophy is that it's rarely a good idea to give away outs.


Most of it is that a guy who gets on base/slugs well has more value than a guy who does those things worse but has a better K rate. A guy who gets on base a ton isn't getting out as much, a guy who slugs well is advancing himself and the guys in front of him (if they've done their job) as many bases as possible without making an out.

Guys like Marte, Pedro, and (maybe) Jones if this recent stretch isn't just a hot streak are guys you'll take a high K rate from because they compensate for it with XBH.

Barmes and Snider, OTOH, were guys you couldn't tolerate it from earlier because they weren't walking or hitting for power. Barmes has lowered the K rate a bit and started to hit some, and combined with the fact that nobody else has a K rate over 20%, the offense is looking better with Walker back and Inge/Snider gone.

Pitchers are still abysmal though. That won't reverse.

But K's are definitely a give and take type of thing. They certainly don't prevent Marte and Alvarez from being 2 very important hitters for us. But they definitely can turn a mediocre hitter into a terrible hitter quicker than just about anything else.

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 Post subject: Re: Putting the ball in play v. Striking Out
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:11 pm 
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SUPERCHARGED APE wrote:
The way I always took it is that some powerful high-strikeout players can still offer quite a bit of value. I also think much of the philosophy is that it's rarely a good idea to give away outs.


Indeed they can. No debate from me on that point.

But when it comes to strategic plate approaches, there are simply times that swinging from the heels should be secondary to the overall goal of scoring runs. That attempting to maximize the chances of solid, meaningful contact while positively impacting the run scoring environment should be the primary goal.

Bottom of 5, Marte on second, no one out, Bucs down one . . . .

Neil Walker must (I repeat MUST) walk up to the plate with one goal in mind. Making solid contact and to hit the ball anywhere behind Starling Marte. He must be looking to hit the ball up the middle or to pull it. It may be "giving away right field" but it's not "giving away an out." That's adopting a plate approach which is designed to garner a positive even if he makes an out.

The Bucs are in the upper half of the NL in HRs, doubles and triples. Their BABIP is not sub-par nor is it unrealistically low. Yet they were - at least going into this series - among the NL bottom feeders in runs scored. Why? Blame PNC Park all you want. It definitely influences the number of runs scored. However, I maintain that it is largely driven by a failure to put the ball in play. Putting the ball in play more will result in more hits, it will result in more opponent's errors and, even when outs are made, it will involve an increase in runners advancing from first to second, second to third or third to home. It will increase scoring opportunities and scoring runs.

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Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: Putting the ball in play v. Striking Out
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 4:10 pm 
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They are also hitting, like, .240 with RISP. That's going to hurt your run production.

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 Post subject: Re: Putting the ball in play v. Striking Out
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 4:15 pm 
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Plus I think if you're doing well with 2B, 3B, and HR, you're probably looking at an OBP issue as well. All of those hits should score a runner if they're on base more often than not. 1/3 of our lineup was a black hole for a good bit of the season in terms of getting themselves on.

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 Post subject: Re: Putting the ball in play v. Striking Out
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:17 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
SUPERCHARGED APE wrote:
I don't think anybody has ever said that striking out is better than hitting the ball.


There have been arguments advanced over the years that an out is an out is an out; that an out is a failed at bat no matter what form it comes in and those who complain about strike outs are misguided.

An out is an out.

LOL.

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