Wednesday, October 12, 2005
More Reaction To ALCS Game 1
- Friend of 6-4-2 Al Yellon chimes in with some observations about the scene last night. In particular, he was rather shocked -- as I was -- that the Chisox crowd got taken out of the game by Garret Anderson's home run:
That home run, and the two runs the Angels scratched out off Jose Contreras in the third inning, took the crowd right out of the game. It shouldn't have -- 3-0 isn't an insurmountable lead -- but for some reason, it got more quiet than it ought to be at a playoff game.I get the impression that the Chisox faithful really aren't that faithful; the team has a perennially hard time selling itself. They're in a bad part of town, so bad that they had to change the park because the sightlines outside it led to views of some real urban nightmares.
As to the game itself, Al has a nominee for the key play:
A. J. Pierzynski, who has to be one of the slowest players in the game, and who has stolen six bases in his career in nineteen attempts (and no SB since 2003), took off for second base, and was thrown out easily by Bengie Molina.Whatever happened to "smartball"?
During the post-game press conference we listened to on the radio driving home, Guillen confirmed what Mark and I (and all the fans sitting around us) thought: that someone, likely Pierzynski, missed a sign. That had to be a blown hit-and-run, though Guillen also suggested that Pierzynski might have been "trying to make something happen" and just went on his own.
- Vince Galloro at Exile In Wrigleyville complains that the Sox gave up far too many at bats with low pitch counts. He's right: had Byrd gone down, in say, the fourth or fifth, Scioscia's options would have been appallingly thin. But given the Sox' offense, I'm not sure that's possible; they're pretty much a mirror image of the Angels.
- BPro's Postseason Odds Report has the Angels as winning the ALCS 64% of the time, nearly a 20 percentage point rise from the day before. Just so you know, the Yankees, having won game 1 of the ALDS, turned up series winners 66% of the time. One game means nothing, unless it's the fourth win.
- South Side Sox found the game, well, forgettable.
- Halosphere wrap: Pearly Gates, Sean tracks down an idiotic radio show prank, WJD notes the friendly wager over Scioscia's postseason first games, Seitz has a far better game summary than I had time for or wanted to do, and Matt was as pleased as punch about the outcome.
- Update: Angels prospect Howie Kendrick was watching Monday's game:
Being part of the organization makes it more fun. Seeing what they teach us down here and seeing it put to use with success at that level is exciting. What they teach fits their style of play. You learn the things you need to know to get to that level. Once you get there, they expect you to perform like they did on Monday. Santana showed he and other younger guys are capable of performing to that level.
I think most well-run organizations have a consistent philosophy; if your farm system is producing players that need to be retrained at the major level, well you have the Dodgers. ;) But I'm just not sure developing players to swing at first pitches and not work deep counts is the best philosophy to go.
On the other hand you have outliers like Vlad and Nomar, guys who almost always swing at the first pitch. It seems to work for them. There is also a danger in leaving the bat on your shoulder on strike one.
Vlad (and Sheffield, for that matter) is kind of a special case, though. He's one of the best practitioners of the THT rotational swing, which lets you generate significant bat speed before committing your hips to a pitch. A guy with great THT can get away with lousy plate discipline because he can wait forever on a ball, and then crush it outright. Of course, same guy with excellent plate discipline would be Barry Bonds.
Linear-ish hitters like Erstad need the plate discipline and to work pitch counts. If they don't have it, a pitcher can screw up Erstad's swing mechanics by going horizontal (i.e. cutter them to death) with them.
IMO, the Angels hitting philosophy contradicts their hitting instruction (i.e. Hatcher) at the top. Also IMO the longer Angels hitters work in this current setup -- unless they change their swing first policy -- the worse the OPS numbers are going to be with the hitters.
Next year's PCL team should be one for the ages. But I really think it's time to trade Callaspo at the least, so that Kendrick can play AAA & we can hopefully get someone like Vernon Wells.
Anonymous -- What's "THT"?
I would say that about 1/4 of the Sox fans that I know who tried to get tickets through ticketmaster were sucessful.
NY Brokers had a HUGE block of tickets. Those tickets were either Sold to NYers, or being resold at the last minute.
Sox fans are not going to pay 4 times face value for tix to a playoff game. Not Gonna Happen. --
Last night's crowd was largely not a baseball crowd. They were a happening crowd. The kind of people who go to the latest hotspot. -- Limos at 35th and Shields should be reserved for players, not wine and caviar "baseball fans"
Roughly speaking, THT is roughly sending the bat backwards after the bat is in the launch position in order to create torque and accelerate the bat before you launch with your legs and hips. *Generally*, you can evaluate THT by checking out how "forward" the person's launch position is and the degree of upper cut or "golf"-ishness in their swing.
The advantage to a THT rotational swing is that you can generate high bat speed with a relatively compact swing arc, and you can compensate for offspeed stuff because you're not trying to generate all of your power through the lower body (therefore stalling on your commitment on a pitch.) Finally, the stronger you are, the more THT you can generate.
Erstad has zilcho THT because, like a linear hitter, he sends the shoulders forward as he pivots around his stride. Ergo, he can't pull and he can't hit outside pitches if he's thinking inside.
Whereas guys like Anderson (rotational) and even Molina has some THT because they initiate their swing from the forearms before trying to drive.
The disadvantage to rotational swingers is that their mechanics are much higher maintenance. A linear hitting coach can parse out what's wrong with a swing, but a guy like Hatcher, who doesn't even like video tape, will have no clue how to solve a guy's fractured rotational swing.
Matt -- no, I missed it. Can you give me a URL?