View Full Version : Billings' Burleson - Defense & Pitching

07-16-2006, 07:25 AM
This is from the tailend of a story in the Billings Gazette regarding their game yesterday. I'll highlight a couple of spots. It finishes with a Notes section that mentions a number of Reds coaching brass who are in town. I suspect his comment, highlighted below that they are emphasizing pitching and defense and that the offense will take care of itself, might be a mantra for the organization in the years to come.

"We can talk about our hitting, but I'd like to talk about the defense. It saved us," Burleson said. "We executed two big double plays tonight to get out of jams. We're preaching defense and pitching, and let the offense take care of itself. That's what happened tonight."

On the mound, Sean Watson got his third start of the year for Billings and continued his dominance.

Still limited to about 50 pitches per outing, Watson struck out five through four innings of work while allowing just one hit.

Watson still has not been charged with an earned run this season.

Travis Webb, Kyle Huddy, James Morris -- who got the victory -- and Luis Moya came on in relief to preserve the win.

Morris got himself out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the top of the eighth by inducing one of those key double plays to keep the Mustangs out of trouble.

The Mustangs will wrap up their current seven-game homestand today with a 4 p.m. getaway game against the Rockies.

"It's important for us to just keep going," Burleson said. "We have a tough road trip coming up, so (today's game) is an important game."

NOTES: Valaika's home run was his second of the season. ... The already tight Mustangs locker room has been even more crowded this homestand due to several visiting coordinators and instructors from the Cincinnati Reds. Leon Roberts (hitting coordinator), Mario Soto (roving pitching instructor), Mike LaCoss (roving pitching instructor) and Johnny Almaraz, the director of player development/international operations have all been in town checking out the Mustangs.

07-17-2006, 10:01 PM
Love to see Soto with any of our pitchers. That guy has the real pitchers gold in his head...the thing our young pitchers need most in their journey to the Show is a big league change-up. Mario had one of the best ever and he seems to be good at teaching it to others. :thumbup:

07-18-2006, 01:25 PM
I suspect you are overthinking things.

Here is another Burleson quote (from the 'Ponies Report' thread) that puts things in a very different perspective.

When asked last week about his team’s lack of home runs, Mustangs manager Rick Burleson stressed patience.

“I expect our guys to eventually break out and hit some just by getting their pitch,” he said after Jason Louwsma hit the team’s sixth homer of the season Friday night. “We’re not going to hit them swinging for them, that’s for sure.
That sure sounds like a man who believes in plate discipline and eschews the 'hack away' philosophy to me. As a matter of fact, it sounds like he is openly encouraging his guys to be LESS aggressive and wait for a pitch they can drive.

This organization has a lot of problems on the player development side of things ... Burleson ain't one of 'em.