Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Major Leaguers

When I started doing this a few years ago, and I was doing game recaps every night, I always tried to write about things I observed that maybe didn't get talked about by the broadcasters or written up in the paper. After a couple of years, I felt like I was writing about the same things all the time, and it sapped a little bit of the interest I had in writing. It just felt like I was writing things I had written before.

Last night, however, I saw something that really got my dander up, so to speak. Now, I understand that the Angels offensive philosophy is to be aggressive, and they're going to swing a lot. If you haven't figured that out by now, you haven't been watching very long. But what happened in the sixth inning was ridiculous. To take you back, you'll remember that the bottom of the fifth inning finished with the Mariners scoring three unearned runs, thanks in large part to Howie Kendrick's error on a routine grounder, and Robb Quinlan's inexplicable decision to go the long way on a throw for the third out, instead of a quick flip to second, which resulted in the second error of the inning. The defense hung Joe Saunders out to dry, and made him throw 12 more pitches than he should have to get out of the inning.

I don't know about you, but if I were a hitter due up the next inning, and my pitcher just had to work a lot harder than he should have to get out of an inning, I might want to slow things down a bit, take a few pitches, and let him catch his breath before taking the mound again. The Angels offense gave Saunders about 45 seconds. Maicer Izturis actually saw four pitches in his at bat, but Kendrick and Torii Hunter combined saw half that. Isn't this baseball 101? In the NL, if you pitcher grounds out, and you're the next hitter, you take a few extra seconds in the on deck circle. You walk more slowly to the plate. You give the guy a break.

I don't know, maybe it's just me, but this goes hand in hand with the insane number of times you see one of these guys swing at a pitch from a pitcher who has just thrown six or seven straight pitches out of the strike zone. I understand aggressiveness, but sometimes, you need to use your head. You need to help your own pitcher, and not help out your opponent.

Still, they're winning. That makes six series in a row that the Angels have had the upper hand. If they win two out of three all year, I think they'll be alright. Congratulations to Hokie Joe on win #9, and nice work from Arredondo and Frankie to lock things down. Let's see them get that sweep.

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