So, last night’s game, bottom of the 5th, one out, Quinlan at 2nd, Aybar at 1st. Napoli has already scored after BB from Casilla followed by 2 consecutive hits. Casilla is struggling to throw strikes…the count on GMJ is 3-0. Sean Rodriguez is on deck, and Teixeira in the hole. Oh yes, and the Angels have rallied from a 6-0 deficit and the score is now 6-5.
Stop. FREEZE FRAME. At this point, is there ANYONE that would give GMJ the green light? Is there anyone that would even give him the option to swing/not swing? At this point I would have expected Dino Ebel to all but lock GMJ’s bat in the dugout.
RE-START. GMJ (apparently given latitude to swing if he liked the pitch) grounds out weakly to 1st baseman…on a 3-0 pitch.
Does anyone understand this? Can anyone explain it?
Perhaps more than any other game, baseball is a game of constantly shifting percentages. In this case, you have a pitcher struggling to throw strikes versus a batter that has struggled all year (all career?), has played sparingly in the last 7 weeks, but has already managed to walk once in the game.
The percentages clearly say to me “TAKE A PITCH!!!”. The worst possible outcome is a called strike one…leaving potentially 1-2 more strikes for GMJ’s AB. Not much of a downside.
The percentages also tell me to do whatever is possible to get Teixeira an AB that inning.
This seems to be another example of the Angels crossing a line between smart-aggressive and stupid-aggressive…in THIS case not just crossing the line but triple-jumping way over for an Olympic gold medal. This gets added to other instances of stupid-aggressive;
1) Rallies killed by bad base-running over and over again (3 of the first 9 outs in Monday’s game on the base paths, one of which was Rivera thrown out at 2nd base on a lead-off hit to medium left field…in a game we lost 2-1).
2) How many times have you seen our team swing for a 3rd strike on a pitch wayyyyy out of the zone? I think we need Chuck Norris to count this high…and please don’t tell me this is balanced by the number of times they look at a called third strike right down the middle!
3) Our outfielders attempting to throw runners out at 3rd/home plate and therefore allowing tying/go-ahead run to advance to 2nd base.
I do not pretend to know what Scioscia/coaching staff says to the team on these occasions. Judging from the results, it does not appear they say much, because the same stupid-aggressive mistakes occur over and over and over.
Please don’t get me wrong. I LOVE aggressive play in sports. I love how the Angels routinely go from 1st to 3rd on base hits. But on too many occasions, they seem to be doing the football equivalent of throwing a bomb every 3rd or 4th play. Wouldn't it help the team to dial back the agressiveness ever so slightly? I don't expect perfection...just fewer stupid-agressive errors.
I ask for the collective wisdom of the Halo Heaven Nation to give opinions/explanations.I need to be enlightened.
Oh…to end on an optimistic/positive note, at least GMJ didn’t ground into a double play!!!