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yessssssss
12-01-2005, 10:02 AM
Ok, the Sox are down by a run or two, bottom of the ninth inning. A non-power hitter is up. Do you have him take until he gets a strike, hoping to work the count in favor of a walk or a fat fastball, or do you let him go up there and swing away?

I've found it curious over the last few years to watch some weak hitting players go up late in the game and ground out on the first pitch. I have trouble with the logic behind it: "The pitcher wants to get ahead, the best pitch I'll see is the first one" or whatever.

I'm not saying this is a Sox problem, I watch a lot of baseball. I'm just curious to hear what other fans think of this.

antitwins13
12-01-2005, 10:08 AM
Ok, the Sox are down by a run or two, bottom of the ninth inning. A non-power hitter is up. Do you have him take until he gets a strike, hoping to work the count in favor of a walk or a fat fastball, or do you let him go up there and swing away?

I've found it curious over the last few years to watch some weak hitting players go up late in the game and ground out on the first pitch. I have trouble with the logic behind it: "The pitcher wants to get ahead, the best pitch I'll see is the first one" or whatever.

I'm not saying this is a Sox problem, I watch a lot of baseball. I'm just curious to hear what other fans think of this.


First of all, What's the score? Secondly, I think that you shouldn't overmanage. If the hitter has a patient style like Frank let him take pitches, but if he's a slasher like Uribe, Everette, Valentin etc, if you make them take pitches they will be down 0-2 every time guaranteed.

Iwritecode
12-01-2005, 10:15 AM
Ok, the Sox are down by a run or two, bottom of the ninth inning. A non-power hitter is up. Do you have him take until he gets a strike, hoping to work the count in favor of a walk or a fat fastball, or do you let him go up there and swing away?

I've found it curious over the last few years to watch some weak hitting players go up late in the game and ground out on the first pitch. I have trouble with the logic behind it: "The pitcher wants to get ahead, the best pitch I'll see is the first one" or whatever.

I'm not saying this is a Sox problem, I watch a lot of baseball. I'm just curious to hear what other fans think of this.

It sometimes depends on the pitcher as well. If you have a guy out there with some nasty stuff that's able to locate his pitches well and the first ball is over the plate, you might as well take a hack at it. It may be the best pitch you see in the AB.

Norberto7
12-01-2005, 10:21 AM
You don't want to be too predictable, either. It can be used as a useful guideline in certain situations, but swinging at the first pitch is not always a bad thing.

NUCatsFan
12-01-2005, 10:26 AM
The only time that I know of that you just don't take the bat off your shoulder is when the pitcher is missing the strike zone badly and has already walked someone. You don't even bother swinging until the pitcher shows he can get the ball over the plate for a strike.

Chicken Dinner
12-01-2005, 10:27 AM
Too many variables to answer that question. Who's batting, who's pitching, what's the weather like, shadows, etc.

daveeym
12-01-2005, 10:48 AM
It sometimes depends on the pitcher as well. If you have a guy out there with some nasty stuff that's able to locate his pitches well and the first ball is over the plate, you might as well take a hack at it. It may be the best pitch you see in the AB. Exactly, depends more on the pitcher than the hitter in the bigs. This isn't high school were coaches generally always take that approach no matter what.

bobowhite
12-01-2005, 10:51 AM
Not sure if I qualify as an expert on this. I mean, I was a .244 career hitter in at best, AA ball. Here are my thoughts anyways.

I personally would always take an educated guess as to what the first pitch would be and I always, always, always was ready for a mediocre fastball in the center of the plate. That being said, if my guess was correct or nearly correct (slightly different speed, location a few inches off, etc.) then I would take a good whack at that pitch. If the pitcher had fooled me in any major way then the bat stayed on my shoulder.

This does mean that I nearly always chased good sliders and looked like a fool doing so. Bad sliders tended to result in a good solid hit anywhere from opposite field-center to deep foul balls. ( I switch hit so as a lefty I hit a bad slider to left-center, left, down the 3B line or foul over the 3B coach. Righty that was reversed.) My only career triples were on bad sliders late in games.

I rarely grounded out on first pitches because if it wasn't what I was looking for, and height was a pretty prominent point, then I wouldn't swing.

For me, as a caucasian playing in Japan, I almost never had first pitches called a ball (unless it was an intentional walk attempt or went to the backstop.)

With second and third pitches I would always expand my strikezone and just try to put the ball in play, preferably hit hard.

This being said, when batting with the bunt sign on, the hardest thing to do is recognize a bad pitch and pull the bat back.

duke of dorwood
12-01-2005, 11:55 AM
When I coached, I told my kids, your work starts AFTER Strike One

kevin57
12-01-2005, 01:42 PM
I agree that there are a lot of variables to consider before making a "rule" about swinging at a first strike. A lot of Sox batters were very aggressive this year. When pitchers know that the batter will swing, the quality of pitches he'll get will diminish. A batter like Dye, however, seemed to almost always let the first strike go by. Pitchers figured that out and he got some many delicious first strikes, I wanted to take the damn bat out of his hand and take a swing. :rolleyes:

fquaye149
12-01-2005, 02:18 PM
When I coached, I told my kids, your work starts AFTER Strike One

Well - here's a good question. Generally in high school ball and earlier it's very sound strategy to tke a strike when trying to come back in late innings. The reasoning behind this is that the pitcher's number one enemy in low-level ball is the base on balls. Overanxiousness will keep the pitch count down and make it unlikely that the hitter will draw a walk.

However, in the majors, the strategy is debatable. After all, most MLB pitchers can locate their pitches, especially the closer who comes in late in the game. Furthermore, if you look at splits involving what count a hitter is at, an 0-0 count is a lot more advantageous than 0-1...and the 1-0 advantage probably isn't enough over the 0-0 to warrant risking an 0-1 count.

Furthermore, most major league pitchers, especially closers, have an array of pitches, a solid fastball and an even more solid offspeed pitch(perhaps even more). 0-0 is as good a fastball count as 1-0 and fastball is probably the best pitch to hit off a pitcher.

I would probably, if I were managing in the MLB, send my hitters up there with the mentality of swinging at the first pitch they think they can hit. You're not going to work a pitch count on a closer, so hack at the first good pitch you see, even if it's the first one.

Of course, I don't manage in the majors (though I'd probably be the best ever if I did:wink: )