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Edskin
05-22-2008, 04:06 PM
Sorry, this is a lame thread title, but I wasn't really sure how to articulate my point--- that was the best I could do :)

We talk a lot around here about "stats vs. tradition" etc.

While I still believe that managing a team is at least 50% intuition, people skills, timing....I have also become a staunch believer in maximizing percentages.

We talk all the time about how GM's and managers balance this out, but we rarely talk about the players.

Last night, something dawned in me in the 9th inning: Maybe the Reds players really aren't very smart. Maybe they don't understand the numbers. Or maybe I just don't understand the game? :)

Here's how I got started on this:

Top of the 9th inning last night, Reds down 5-2. Obviously, the percentages are completely stacked against us in that situation no matter how players approach their AB's. However, isn't the idea to at least give yourself the best CHANCE to mount a comeback?

Griffey leads off and takes ball one. He then pops weakly to third on an 1-0 count.

To me, that is maddening. It's really just plain stupid.

In that situation, reaching 1st base by any means necessary is the equivalent to hitting a HR. The only advantage to an extra base hit is staying out of a potential DP. So, IMO, the ONLY objective for Junior in that at bat is to reach 1st base.

We all know that even the best hitters connect for a base hit well below 40% of the time.

With a 1-0 count, why in the world do you not take in that situation? Even if it's a meatball down the heart of the plate, it would seem you would maximize your chances by forcing him to throw another pitch. Maybe on the 1-1 pitch, he misses the plate again...the deeper the count goes, the better.

Of course, if this same situation took place in the middle of the game, I would be signing a different tune. Totally different situation with a different objective for the AB.

And that's what baffles me about the Reds...the objective never seems to change.

After Griffey pops out, Phillips swings at the first pitch he sees. Eventually, he does manage to run the count full, but winds up striking out. I really don't have a problem with BP being a "hacker"-- it's who he is after all. But is it so hard to adjust your approach for a given situation?

Dunn comes up next. Again, swings at the 1st pitch. Winds up striking out. Now, Adam Dunn should NEVER be criticized for not be patient enough. I'm not saying that. But again, in that situation, I'm not sure he "knew" himself very well. The % of times Adam Dunn gets an actual base hit are pretty low. In that situation, you might as well take, take, take. In that situation, I'd actually rather see him go down looking than swinging. If the bases were loaded, I'd rather seem him go down swinging.

And that's what it boils down to for me. I'm talking about the Reds because they are the only team I watch this intensely throughout the season. Perhaps this a trend I really haven't noticed. But I'm using these examples because I watch the Reds.

Are they not smart enough? Too stubborn? Too embedded with old school-macho values about "going down swinging?" Too selfish? Or is it just the way it is and I'm the one that needs to change?

Chip R
05-22-2008, 04:11 PM
Are they not smart enough? Too stubborn? Too embedded with old school-macho values about "going down swinging?" Too selfish? Or is it just the way it is and I'm the one that needs to change?


Maybe they just felt those were pitches they could hit. Were those strikes they swung at or balls out of the zone?

Edskin
05-22-2008, 04:13 PM
Maybe they just felt those were pitches they could hit. Were those strikes they swung at or balls out of the zone?

Doesn't matter-- especially in Griffey's case. Even if it's a "pitch he can hit" there's not a great chance of actually getting a hit. 1-0 count, leading off, down by 3, it would seem to me that forcing more pitches is the best way to increase your chances of getting on base.

And the fact that he popped out so weakly leads me to believe that it wasn't such a great pitch to hit either.

Edskin
05-22-2008, 04:15 PM
Also, all three were taking their customary big swings. 95% of the time, I have no issue with that-- it's maximazing their overall strength to the team. However, why not choke up in that situation? Why swing from the heels? Why not approach the AB under more control?

pahster
05-22-2008, 04:20 PM
Also, all three were taking their customary big swings. 95% of the time, I have no issue with that-- it's maximazing their overall strength to the team. However, why not choke up in that situation? Why swing from the heels? Why not approach the AB under more control?

Because that's not how they've been successful throughout their careers.

Triples
05-22-2008, 04:20 PM
Sorry, this is a lame thread title, but I wasn't really sure how to articulate my point--- that was the best I could do :)

We talk a lot around here about "stats vs. tradition" etc.

While I still believe that managing a team is at least 50% intuition, people skills, timing....I have also become a staunch believer in maximizing percentages.

We talk all the time about how GM's and managers balance this out, but we rarely talk about the players.

Last night, something dawned in me in the 9th inning: Maybe the Reds players really aren't very smart. Maybe they don't understand the numbers. Or maybe I just don't understand the game? :)

Here's how I got started on this:

Top of the 9th inning last night, Reds down 5-2. Obviously, the percentages are completely stacked against us in that situation no matter how players approach their AB's. However, isn't the idea to at least give yourself the best CHANCE to mount a comeback?

Griffey leads off and takes ball one. He then pops weakly to third on an 1-0 count.

To me, that is maddening. It's really just plain stupid.

In that situation, reaching 1st base by any means necessary is the equivalent to hitting a HR. The only advantage to an extra base hit is staying out of a potential DP. So, IMO, the ONLY objective for Junior in that at bat is to reach 1st base.

We all know that even the best hitters connect for a base hit well below 40% of the time.

With a 1-0 count, why in the world do you not take in that situation? Even if it's a meatball down the heart of the plate, it would seem you would maximize your chances by forcing him to throw another pitch. Maybe on the 1-1 pitch, he misses the plate again...the deeper the count goes, the better.

Of course, if this same situation took place in the middle of the game, I would be signing a different tune. Totally different situation with a different objective for the AB.

And that's what baffles me about the Reds...the objective never seems to change.

After Griffey pops out, Phillips swings at the first pitch he sees. Eventually, he does manage to run the count full, but winds up striking out. I really don't have a problem with BP being a "hacker"-- it's who he is after all. But is it so hard to adjust your approach for a given situation?

Dunn comes up next. Again, swings at the 1st pitch. Winds up striking out. Now, Adam Dunn should NEVER be criticized for not be patient enough. I'm not saying that. But again, in that situation, I'm not sure he "knew" himself very well. The % of times Adam Dunn gets an actual base hit are pretty low. In that situation, you might as well take, take, take. In that situation, I'd actually rather see him go down looking than swinging. If the bases were loaded, I'd rather seem him go down swinging.

And that's what it boils down to for me. I'm talking about the Reds because they are the only team I watch this intensely throughout the season. Perhaps this a trend I really haven't noticed. But I'm using these examples because I watch the Reds.

Are they not smart enough? Too stubborn? Too embedded with old school-macho values about "going down swinging?" Too selfish? Or is it just the way it is and I'm the one that needs to change?

Perhaps, just perhaps, those guys know something you and me and everyone else not on the field don't know. First, KGJ, BP and AD didn't get to be major league players by being stupid (the word you used to describe KGs at bat) Second, isn't it plausible that who ever the pitcher was has a reputation for throwing a first pitch strike to get ahead and then nit picking the rest of the at bat. Last time I checked teams keep track of stuff like that. If so, then all three knew that the best pitch they are going to see is likely going to be the first one, after that all they are going to see is junk. Likewise, how often does the pitcher in question walk players. While a walk is good in that situation its not as good as an extra base hit and all of those guys you're talking about are guys that can change the tenor of the game with one swing of the bat. So, I'm not sure we should be so quick to doubt their intelligence, understanding of the game or their motivation. I'm confident they have a lot more information at their disposal than we do.

Edskin
05-22-2008, 04:26 PM
While a walk is good in that situation its not as good as an extra base hit and all of those guys you're talking about are guys that can change the tenor of the game with one swing of the bat.

Not really. A walk is pretty much the same as a HR in that situation. The objective of the AB should NOT be to drive the ball-- it should be to reach 1st base, period. Now, maybe a certain player doesn't possess skills aside from driving the ball, so perhaps that IS their best chance to reach base. But I find that hard to believe.

Chip R
05-22-2008, 04:30 PM
Doesn't matter-- especially in Griffey's case. Even if it's a "pitch he can hit" there's not a great chance of actually getting a hit. 1-0 count, leading off, down by 3, it would seem to me that forcing more pitches is the best way to increase your chances of getting on base.

And the fact that he popped out so weakly leads me to believe that it wasn't such a great pitch to hit either.


Also, all three were taking their customary big swings. 95% of the time, I have no issue with that-- it's maximazing their overall strength to the team. However, why not choke up in that situation? Why swing from the heels? Why not approach the AB under more control?


Theoretically speaking, you're right. I get frustrated too when guys pop it up on the 1st pitch. But, as Triples said, these guys are proven hitters and there are a lot of variables to take into effect. Now if each of them had swung at that 1st or 2nd pitch and hit HRs or got base hits, no one would be complaining about their lack of selectivity. Plate patience is a good thing but it has to be taken into context.

bucksfan2
05-22-2008, 04:30 PM
Edskin I agree completly with you. I dont know if it is bad coaching or players not buing into a team game but it seems as if each player is out there for himself. In a situation like last night when you are down by 3 with 3 outs left you need baserunners. Without baserunners you can't score 3 with one swing. I find it madening seing very very poor swings early in the count. I can't stand it when a reds batter greats a relief pitcher with a first pitch swinging out. Or when a pitcher has just walked a batter or two and the next batter waives at a pitch out of the strike zone.

Maybe its just me but the reds have been plagued by poor situational baseball for years. They just don't seem to understand what the situation calls for. This is the 4th manager since McKeon left and the reds have played the same sorry game of baseball year in year out. I read a quote that Marty said on the radio that was to the fact that the reds looked like they were going through the motions. The reds can go for multiple inning stretches in which they don't have a single good at bat. They can go through a stretch of innings in which not one batter works the count.

Why is it so hard to light a fire under this team. I know a manager getting kicked out of a game or a player getting tossed doesn't mean much in the long run but atleast it shows that they care.

flyer85
05-22-2008, 04:35 PM
can't catch up if all you're going to do is clog the bases.

Edskin
05-22-2008, 04:40 PM
Theoretically speaking, you're right. I get frustrated too when guys pop it up on the 1st pitch. But, as Triples said, these guys are proven hitters and there are a lot of variables to take into effect. Now if each of them had swung at that 1st or 2nd pitch and hit HRs or got base hits, no one would be complaining about their lack of selectivity. Plate patience is a good thing but it has to be taken into context.

I've always thought that if I had the skill to make in MLB I'd ask myself a simple question before each AB:

--What is my goal in this AB? How can I best increase my odds of helping my team in THIS AB?

I would agree that the majority of the time, the answer to that question for the above mentioned players is to try and find a decent pitch and drive hard and far. But sometimes, that isn't the answer.

My question is an honest one: Is it too difficult to change your approach?

Edskin
05-22-2008, 04:43 PM
And I'll take it one step further...the situation could have changed (along with my opinion) in a matter of minutes.

Let's say Junior and BP reach base. Then, I'd WANT Dunn to swing and be less selective. I'd actually be very upset he took too many pitches. Because at that point, the situation would have changed. Now, it would seem that with two runners on, Adam Dunn could best maximize his % by hitting one deep.

I agree that it might be too mentally taxing for players to think like this throughout every AB in every game all season long. But hey, that's why they make the big bucks, right? :)

15fan
05-22-2008, 04:43 PM
Not really. A walk is pretty much the same as a HR in that situation.

No.

Walk = Still down 3

HR = Only down 2.

2 and 3 are not equal. Ergo, a walk does not equal a HR.

Nor will it ever.

Edskin
05-22-2008, 04:50 PM
No.

Walk = Still down 3

HR = Only down 2.

2 and 3 are not equal. Ergo, a walk does not equal a HR.

Nor will it ever.

C'mon, you know what I mean. If it's the 8th inning, then I'd agree. But when you get to the 9th, there is little, if any benefit to hitting a HR as oppossed to drawing a walk....until the tying run comes to the plate of course.

Let's say Junior and BP both hit HR's last night.

Adam Dunn comes to the plate with no one on, down by 1.

As oppossed to...

Two men on, down by 3.

Either way, Dunn represents the run that matters. So, essentially, what the guys in front of him do ONLY matters in terms of reaching base or not reaching base (other than the double play benefit I mentioned originally).

flyer85
05-22-2008, 04:55 PM
BTW, all of the play-by-play for the game has Dunn grouding out to 3rd on a 2-1 pitch.

15fan
05-22-2008, 04:59 PM
You're thinking too much.

Is it better to be down 5-3, or 5-2?

At 5-3, you only have to scratch out 2 more runs to tie.

At 5-2, you still have to push 3 more runners across the plate to tie.

Being down 5-3 is always better than being down 5-2. Doesn't matter if there are no outs in the bottom of the first, two outs in the bottom of the 9th, or any point in between.

A 3 run deficit is worse than a 2 run deficit.

Always.

RedsManRick
05-22-2008, 05:00 PM
No.

Walk = Still down 3

HR = Only down 2.

2 and 3 are not equal. Ergo, a walk does not equal a HR.

Nor will it ever.

Well, sort of. Because in order for run number 3 to score, all runners on base ahead of him need to score. Clearly, the advantage of the homer is that base runners can be turned in to outs whereas the homer is a guaranteed run.

However, assuming the runner does not run in to an out, if a third run scores, the two preceding runners would have to score by definition. So moving that runner(s) around the bases is only valuable insofar as it minimizes his chances of being an out.

The basic point stands; The Reds cannot tie the game unless at least 3 runners reach base and the third runner makes it all the way around. The bases the player acquires for himself are far much less significant than merely getting on base in the first place. There is no value in him scoring unless people behind him do -- and if they do (something out of his control), he will score too.

dfs
05-22-2008, 05:45 PM
Even if it's a "pitch he can hit" there's not a great chance of actually getting a hit. 1-0 count, leading off, down by 3, it would seem to me that forcing more pitches is the best way to increase your chances of getting on base.

I don't think any player in major league baseball goes to the plate looking to walk.

Players like Adam Dunn that will take a walk if the pitcher gives it to them cause enough heartache. I simply can't imagine the disdain any player who was actively trying to walk in any plate appearance would suffer.

REDREAD
05-22-2008, 06:39 PM
Griffey leads off and takes ball one. He then pops weakly to third on an 1-0 count.

To me, that is maddening. It's really just plain stupid.

In that situation, reaching 1st base by any means necessary is the equivalent to hitting a HR. The only advantage to an extra base hit is staying out of a potential DP. So, IMO, the ONLY objective for Junior in that at bat is to reach 1st base.



I disagree with this. There's an "old school" expression that a hitter should only expect to see one really good pitch to hit and he should attack it when it comes. Naturally, that's not scientificly accurate, but the point stands.
If Jr thought the pitch would be a called strike, he should try to hit it.
Standing up there and taking pitches just for the sake of hoping you get a walk is not a good strategy, IMO. Obviously, don't swing at junk, but if it's a meatball, you swing at it. I'd argue Jr has a much better chance to hit a meatball than he does to passively get a walk in that situation...

Now, it's a bit different if the pitcher is obviously nibbling and trying to pitch around someone. But with no one on, and a 3 run lead, the Dodger pitchers are not stupid. They are going to throw strikes. As you said, a HR doesn't matter. They are going to maximize their chance to get Jr out, and that means throwing strikes..

37red
05-22-2008, 07:00 PM
Edskin is right, and I'd like to add that the teams that end up on top play like every pitch and inning is a play off inning.

Edskin
05-22-2008, 08:00 PM
BTW, all of the play-by-play for the game has Dunn grouding out to 3rd on a 2-1 pitch.

My bad. Even worse :)

Edskin
05-22-2008, 08:01 PM
Edskin is right, and I'd like to add that the teams that end up on top play like every pitch and inning is a play off inning.

Yes, and I don't mean that in the "clubhouse tantrum, Knute-Rockne" speech kind of way. Simply in the "mental effort" of the game.

GAC
05-22-2008, 08:15 PM
I've always thought that if I had the skill to make in MLB I'd ask myself a simple question before each AB:

--What is my goal in this AB? How can I best increase my odds of helping my team in THIS AB?

I would agree that the majority of the time, the answer to that question for the above mentioned players is to try and find a decent pitch and drive hard and far. But sometimes, that isn't the answer.

My question is an honest one: Is it too difficult to change your approach?

The opposing pitcher also has to accommodate you too. ;)

Last night, in the 9th, they faced Saito, who has appeared in 19 games, 19.2 IPs, converted 8 of 10 save opps, with an ERA of 1.83, while only walking 5 and striking out 21. Impressive IMO.

So I really don't know what you're suggesting Ed? That they should have been more selective? What's the purpose behind taking more pitches (trying to run the pitch count up) on a closer who throws strikes and rarely issues a walk?

How are you then increasing, or improving upon, your odds?

And how many walks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll pop? ;)

The Baumer
05-22-2008, 08:44 PM
Judging by the amount of posts you've made in this thread and the voracity at which you've took apart posts made for the other side of this argument, I don't think anyone is going to change your mind. But still I'd just like to say that it's very hard to see "mental effort" from your TV at home. Especially when you're grading mental effort according to results. I think a 19 year major leaguer has a better grasp of what his job is then myself or anyone not on the field.

Highlifeman21
05-22-2008, 08:59 PM
I see nothing but a chance at failure when a guy goes to the plate without the girl he brought to the dance, aka goes to the plate with a different approach.

While I won't deny that some MLB players approach certain situations with themselves, rather than their team, in mind, I absolutely don't want a guy going to the plate to do something that is out of his realm of success. That's akin to asking EE or Dunn to bunt, or asking Freel to hit a HR, or asking Phillips to draw a walk intentionally. Bottomline, it's not something that's normal for the player, and once we start asking for and expecting something abnormal from the player (although the result is positive) the player is set up for nothing but failure.

Like Chip said, if each player swung at a ball they felt would result in a hit, we can't fault the player. However, if the player swung at a ball out of the zone, or something similar attempting to get a hit, then we can fault the player, but we can also fault the methodology behind essentially giving up a free out.

With 27 outs to go around, I don't want to give up free ones.

But maybe that's just me.

smith288
05-22-2008, 08:59 PM
Could be they just wanted to go home? I dunno, this team, when down, has zero heart.

Far East
05-22-2008, 09:42 PM
When Griffey and Dunn came to the plate, down 3 runs, I was hoping each one would attempt a bunt for a base hit -- something they do better than the sac bunt.

That's no guarantee that they would have succeeded, but for the sake of argument, let's say they both got bunt singles (I'm not sure if the Dodger infield had the typical shift for those two batters, however) or slapped soft hits to left field, and Phillips strikes out. Then, barring a DP, Encarnacion and Votto would get a shot at tying the game.

Do you think the odds of their getting two bunt hits or two soft slices to LF is worse than their getting two HRs or even two well-driven liners?

A 5-2 score in the 9th suggests situational hitting (or walking) for the trailing team. Of course, the bunting would have been easier for someone like Patterson, the walking easier for (a mid-season '07) Hatteberg, the slicing easier for a hitter like Pierre, or the getting hit by a pitch for someone like LaRue. Still, if I were the manager, I'd have expected it.

Edskin
05-22-2008, 10:43 PM
While I won't deny that some MLB players approach certain situations with themselves, rather than their team, in mind, I absolutely don't want a guy going to the plate to do something that is out of his realm of success. That's akin to asking EE or Dunn to bunt, or asking Freel to hit a HR, or asking Phillips to draw a walk intentionally. Bottomline, it's not something that's normal for the player, and once we start asking for and expecting something abnormal from the player (although the result is positive) the player is set up for nothing but failure.

Like Chip said, if each player swung at a ball they felt would result in a hit, we can't fault the player. However, if the player swung at a ball out of the zone, or something similar attempting to get a hit, then we can fault the player, but we can also fault the methodology behind essentially giving up a free out.

With 27 outs to go around, I don't want to give up free ones.

But maybe that's just me.

That was one of the questions I posed: Maybe it's asking too much for a player to change their approach? Maybe Junior is not physically able to change his swing in the 9th inning without messing it up the next day? I really don't know the answer to that question, but I find it a bit hard to fathom that he couldn't change per the situation.

And this whole "as long as they swing at something they think they can hit" theory doesn't really sink in with me. I would assume that most players start a swing thinking they are going to draw contact.

This is NOT a thread about players being more patient or selective at the plate. That just happened to be the case with last night, IMO. This thread is more about situational hitting in general and Reds players approaching AB's correctly.

Of course I'm not in anyone's head-- as a fan, all you can do is watch and form opinions based on what you see. For example, there are times when I think EE basically "gives up" at the plate. When he swings wildly at an 0-2 pitch in the dirt, I think that has as much do with the mental aspect of the game as it does the physical.

bucksfan2
05-23-2008, 08:49 AM
I see nothing but a chance at failure when a guy goes to the plate without the girl he brought to the dance, aka goes to the plate with a different approach.

While I won't deny that some MLB players approach certain situations with themselves, rather than their team, in mind, I absolutely don't want a guy going to the plate to do something that is out of his realm of success. That's akin to asking EE or Dunn to bunt, or asking Freel to hit a HR, or asking Phillips to draw a walk intentionally. Bottomline, it's not something that's normal for the player, and once we start asking for and expecting something abnormal from the player (although the result is positive) the player is set up for nothing but failure.

Like Chip said, if each player swung at a ball they felt would result in a hit, we can't fault the player. However, if the player swung at a ball out of the zone, or something similar attempting to get a hit, then we can fault the player, but we can also fault the methodology behind essentially giving up a free out.

With 27 outs to go around, I don't want to give up free ones.

But maybe that's just me.

But what happens if he goes to the dance with a friend but ends up coming home with the home coming queen?

I think what Edskin wants and what I want as well is to know the situation and take full advantage of the situation. It would be interesting to ask relief pitchers whether they would prefer a solo HR and to be pitching with no one on base with a 2 run lead or a walk and to have to pitch with the runner on base with a 3 run lead?

Maybe it is just too much to ask that Griffey, Phillips, and Dunn change their batting mo for the ninth inning of the game. Is it too much to ask professional players to do the things that give the team its best chance to win? If the shift is on Jr can just push the ball down the 3b line and have an easy single. Two solo shots in this situation don't mean anything unless the thrid run in the inning scores.

WebScorpion
05-23-2008, 10:13 AM
Maybe it is just too much to ask that Griffey, Phillips, and Dunn change their batting mo for the ninth inning of the game. Is it too much to ask professional players to do the things that give the team its best chance to win? If the shift is on Jr can just push the ball down the 3b line and have an easy single. Two solo shots in this situation don't mean anything unless the thrid run in the inning scores.

Heck, Dunn won't even expand his strike zone with 2 strikes on him and ducks on the pond...he watches borderline pitches go by all the time only to feign shock when the ump calls it a strike. :eek: I agree with the whole premise that the Reds are generally poor situational hitters. Kepp was the only one who adapted to the circumstances and he's gonna be watching for a while. So what's the solution? Get a whole new batch of players? Teach situational hitting(I'm sure they already do this) in the Minors? Fine people for not adapting? I say you shoot them with a BB gun when they're not looking...in the back of the head. :lol:

PuffyPig
05-23-2008, 12:01 PM
You're thinking too much.

Is it better to be down 5-3, or 5-2?

At 5-3, you only have to scratch out 2 more runs to tie.

At 5-2, you still have to push 3 more runners across the plate to tie.

Being down 5-3 is always better than being down 5-2. Doesn't matter if there are no outs in the bottom of the first, two outs in the bottom of the 9th, or any point in between.

A 3 run deficit is worse than a 2 run deficit.

Always.

The first time you said this, I assumed you were joking. Now I'm not so sure.

Query:

Let's say you are losing 2-0 in the bottom of the 9th, man on third, 1 out.

Dunn is at bat, and hits a sacifice fly. It's now 2-1, and I assume you would say that the sacifice fly is a good thing as it has increased your chances of winning, being now only down by 1 run.

I can assure you that your chances of winning just took a monumental kick in the crackers.

When you are in the last inning, down by more than 1 run, until the batter is the tying run, any baserunner is as good as a HR (other than the DP possibility). Becuase if the batter has to score for you to tie it, you can safely assume any runners on base ahead of the batter will also score.

Highlifeman21
05-23-2008, 12:12 PM
Edskin and bucksfan2, do you honestly believe that the Reds' chances for success will increase if we demand and expect individual hitters to dramatically change their plate approach to suit the game situation?

Guys have success at the plate thanks to a consistent approach. Constantly changing your approach at the plate might work on a micro level in a very small sample size, but on the macro level you will see nothing but peaks and valleys. We don't want peaks and valleys out of our guys, but rather that consistent line, where we'll know what we'll get.

It seems the two of you are focusing too much on desired results at the micro level, whereas you're not concentrating on the macro level for the Reds. Granted, one loss is just one loss, and many one losses will add up, but I still maintain it's bad for the Reds overall if hitters go to the plate changing their approach given certain situations.

Maybe I'm wrong (and I very well could be), but I just would rather see a consistent approach from Reds hitters. I think overall, that will lead to the highest chance for success.

RedsManRick
05-23-2008, 12:28 PM
Heck, Dunn won't even expand his strike zone with 2 strikes on him and ducks on the pond...he watches borderline pitches go by all the time only to feign shock when the ump calls it a strike. :eek: I agree with the whole premise that the Reds are generally poor situational hitters. Kepp was the only one who adapted to the circumstances and he's gonna be watching for a while. So what's the solution? Get a whole new batch of players? Teach situational hitting(I'm sure they already do this) in the Minors? Fine people for not adapting? I say you shoot them with a BB gun when they're not looking...in the back of the head. :lol:

The guy has enough trouble making contact on the pitches he feels comfortable swinging at. Given his contact problems on pitches he likes, imagine his contact rates on pitches he doesn't. Maybe letting borderline pitches go by with 2 strikes IS maximizing his production. If he swings, there's no way the pitch can be a ball -- and there's not a very good chance of him putting the ball in play, let alone hitting the ball hard. Maybe he is better off hoping for the ump to call it a ball. Of course, we're biased against the value of not doing something -- our brains aren't wired to judge the value of inaction. Some might call swinging at the borderline pitch "defending the plate". For a guy like Dunn, I'd call it "trying to make strike three".

That really gets at the point being made earlier. It's like asking EE to bunt and then complaining when he can't. I think too often we think of skills as hierarchical. That is, if you can hit homers, then you can do a bunch of things below it on the food chain, including bunting.

While certainly players can adapt their approach to the situation, I wonder how much production we lose by asking guys to do the things that they aren't naturally good at and which they do not spend much time perfecting.

Ok, so a given situation calls for bunting the run over. But is Dusty managing too much to the situation (or his concept of what the situation calls for) and not enough to his talent. The way he organizes his lineup suggests me he is. He envisions his team looking a certain way, being comprised of a certain set of players with specific skill sets, and using them in certain ways in certain situations. Rather than taking the 25 guys he's got and making the best of it, he insist in shoving his square peg in to that round hole.

Dunn up and you need a bunt? Lay it down Adam! No ideal leadoff hitter? Corey Patterson looks the most like one -- put him up there. The SS is supposed to be a bat control guy, so he's the best choice for #2. Dunn hits for power and power hitters hit in the middle of the order. But his average stinks, so drop him a few spots. And so forth.

I think the players are doing their best, but Dusty isn't utilizing them in a way that allows or encourages them to maximize their skills. He's trying to force the team in to what he thinks is the winning way to play the game -- and ironically achieving the opposite effect.

BCubb2003
05-23-2008, 12:31 PM
The debate is not really over whether a home run or a single base is better in that situation but whether the attempt at a home run or single base is better. If attempting to hit a home run increases the chances of making one of the last three outs you have left, then maybe there's a better way. (Outs are valuable, after all, and most of all in this situation.) If asking a player to do something he's not usually good at increases the chances of making an out, then you'd better not.

There's also a case to be made that changing the approach to meet the situation -- is -- the approach of some ballplayers, and that would be a good player to have up in that situation, and it would be good to have more of those guys on the team.

Far East
05-23-2008, 12:39 PM
...There's also a case to be made that changing the approach to meet the situation -- is -- the approach of some ballplayers, and that would be a good player to have up in that situation, and it would be good to have more of those guys on the team.
Amen!

flyer85
05-23-2008, 01:09 PM
There's also a case to be made that changing the approach to meet the situation -- is -- the approach of some ballplayers, and that would be a good player to have up in that situation, and it would be good to have more of those guys on the team.seeing as Dunn grounded out to 3rd to end the game I would say he did change his approach and certainly was not trying to hit a home run