sisyphus wrote:
No. 9, what happens when it's there's a runner on second, one out, and the moon is full?
I'll take "Deflection" for $500, Alex.
Forgive me for not feeling better about the Pirates' chances for scoring a run when there's a runner on second base and Andrew McCutchen is walked ahead of Gaby Sanchez. I really don't care what RE tables tell me or what some statistical compilation shows to be the "value" of a walk.
There's a time to be selective and there's a time to swing at hittable pitches. At some point, the guys who populate the middle third of the order simply must drive in the guys at the top of the order who get on base. Passing on hittable pitches may add to that player's wRC+ totals but that doesn't necessarily translate to real runs posted on real scoreboards in real games.
Ike Davis, when he swings, is one of the best contact hitters on this team. Yet, he is - by far - the leader on this team if you measure the percentage of his strike outs where he is caught looking at strike 3. His strike out percentage is pretty decent. However, his caught looking percentage is atrocious. He is incredibly selective; maddeningly selective IMO.
Outs may be a limited commodity but, in today's run scoring environment where scoring 4 or more runs in 9 innings has earned the Pirates a .772 winning percentage, including a .617 winning percentage when they score 4 or 5 runs, runs are gold. Passing up the opportunity on a hittable pitch which likely pushes across a run because it isn't the "perfect" pitch - at least to me - is short-sighted. On average, scoring one run in an inning is 25% of the way to a .617 winning percentage. Winning at a .617 percentage translates to 100 wins.
You used the old adage "a walk is as good as a hit." I'll match you. When I look at a run scoring on a grounder to second base, I don't necessarily lament the fact that the hitter didn't take a walk or reach base safely. I often think of the adage "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." Particularly when the 7,8 and 9 hitters are next in line.