Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from joel49. Show joel49's posts

    Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    Yes, it has worked in the past.  Not so much anymore.  Our pitchers are constantly victimized by opposition batters swinging at first pitch fastballs.  Other than Ortiz and AJ, our hitters generally pretty much start their AB's down 0-1 letting the best pitch of the AB (usually a FB down the middle) go by and then grounding out meekly or striking out on off speed stuff or pitches on the corners. Pedey's taking every first pitch and most first strike pitches has worked for him in the past. Not so this season.  He (as well as others) seems to be grounding into double plays more than ever, and the runners left in scoring position stat is over the top. Time to switch things up. Stop giving the pitcher those 0-1 counts, especially the control pitchers.





    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xGUBMmmQWM" rel="nofollow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xGUBMmmQWM

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from steven11. Show steven11's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    In response to joel49's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Yes, it has worked in the past.  Not so much anymore.  Our pitchers are constantly victimized by opposition batters swinging at first pitch fastballs.  Other than Ortiz and AJ, our hitters generally pretty much start their AB's down 0-1 letting the best pitch of the AB (usually a FB down the middle) go by and then grounding out meekly or striking out on off speed stuff or pitches on the corners. Pedey's taking every first pitch and most first strike pitches has worked for him in the past. Not so this season.  He (as well as others) seems to be grounding into double plays more than ever, and the runners left in scoring position stat is over the top. Time to switch things up. Stop giving the pitcher those 0-1 counts, especially the control pitchers.

     




    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xGUBMmmQWM" rel="nofollow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xGUBMmmQWM" rel="nofollow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xGUBMmmQWM

    [/QUOTE]


    That is how the Yankees got to Pedro. 

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from royf19. Show royf19's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    And when the Sox go 1-2-3 in nine pitches or less, which happened the other day, there will be posts that the Sox are being too aggressive and not being patient.

    In fact, there were a couple of times over the weekend when the Sox had runners in scoring position and the next batter got out on the first pitch.

    When you're slumping and taking a lot of pitches, the complaint is you're not being aggressive.

    When you're slumping and not taking a lot of pitches, the complaint is you're not being patient.

    I still want the Sox to work counts, drive up pitch counts and wear down starting pitchers, because they've had great success over the years with that approach. But that doesn't mean, they shouldn't at times be more aggressive and change things up at times, especially if they have a great pitch to hit. 

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from SpacemanEephus. Show SpacemanEephus's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    No.  Grinding long at bats is the way to go.  The numbers bear it out, and every anecdotal peice of evidence you need to back the numbers up does too.  

    Now, that doesn't mean you don't need to shake it up and jump on a guy now and then though.  Sometimes Sox hitters put dogma before real baseball.  Of course the only way to get pitchers to throw ball one is if they think you will swing at a strike.  So, balance of course.  You can't watch strike one everytime (heres looking at you JD Drew).  But, they should never abandon working counts.

         
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from billge. Show billge's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    Grinding is good, except JBJ, who should swing at every pitch

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinstripezac35. Show pinstripezac35's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    In response to SpacemanEephus' comment:

    No.  Grinding long at bats is the way to go.  The numbers bear it out, and every anecdotal peice of evidence you need to back the numbers up does too.  

    do or did ?

    I'll gladly take your word 4 it space

    I just wanted to add that when we played the

    brewers very early in the yr

    they were hacking away with some pretty good results

    someone a coach or mgr

    said that they felt with BPens being better then ever

    they weren't that interested in getting the starter out

    I thought it was interesting enough

    obviously if we R talking about an ace 

    but maybe not the same strategy against everyone

    FWIW (nothing) brewers 25 in BB 21 in runs

     

     

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from georom4. Show georom4's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    I'm not a big fan but with pitch counts ruling pitching changes it makes some sense - however if you have a big fat strike in the middle of the plate, swing no matter the count (Mr Pedroia)

    As always - 100% correct!

     
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from Joebreidey. Show Joebreidey's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    In response to steven11's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to joel49's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Yes, it has worked in the past.  Not so much anymore.  Our pitchers are constantly victimized by opposition batters swinging at first pitch fastballs.  Other than Ortiz and AJ, our hitters generally pretty much start their AB's down 0-1 letting the best pitch of the AB (usually a FB down the middle) go by and then grounding out meekly or striking out on off speed stuff or pitches on the corners. Pedey's taking every first pitch and most first strike pitches has worked for him in the past. Not so this season.  He (as well as others) seems to be grounding into double plays more than ever, and the runners left in scoring position stat is over the top. Time to switch things up. Stop giving the pitcher those 0-1 counts, especially the control pitchers.

     




    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xGUBMmmQWM" rel="nofollow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xGUBMmmQWM" rel="nofollow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xGUBMmmQWM" rel="nofollow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xGUBMmmQWM" rel="nofollow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xGUBMmmQWM

    [/QUOTE]


    That is how the Yankees got to Pedro. 

    [/QUOTE]


    [object HTMLDivElement]

    Not really.  We get behind 0-1 at almost exactly league-average rate.  The league average 0-1 count is 18.8 times per game. and we are at 19.2.

    OTOH, we are above-average at getting ahead in the count 1-0.  I'd guess that would indicate that taking the first pitch has an advantage.

    And since we are #14 out of 15 teams in OPS when swinging at the first pitch, I think your conclusion might be exactly backwards, with all duue respect.

    I'm curious, did you check any of this out before you posted?

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from bosoxmal. Show bosoxmal's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    I've been preaching this all year. There's an old basebal axiom "for any AB, the first pitch you see is most likely going to be the best pitch the entire AB". Pitchers have been grooving the first pitch to RS hitters all year. That will stop once they start ripping those belt high, middle of the plate fastballs off the wall.

    After Holt's hit off the wall, there was adramatic change to the entire game. Like, wow, we can swing at outside fastballs. Holt, by the way, has more talent than 2/3 of the guys on this team. Speed, quickness, short fast swing, can bunt (wow), and play third base. Why they sent him back to R.I., I have never understood. Hopefully, they won't make that mistake again. XB has got to go to LF when Drew is ready. He can't do any more harm there than he has done at SS. And he IS going to be a really, really, good ball player---eventually.

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from joel49. Show joel49's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    No, Joe, I didn't look up any stats, and I appreciate your doing so and citing them.  It's just the eye test on my part.  When I see Pedey so often go down 0-1, then see Papi crush many a first pitch, I can't help thinking Pedey could do the same.   As great as I think he is, I believe he would be an even better hitter if he went after that first pitch more than once in a blue moon. And as stated above, JBJ should probably swing at anything close right now given he needs every possible chance to make contact.  It just seems to me that when the team is in a collective hitting slump, something different needs to be done, so why not swing at that first strike once in a while to keep opposing pitchers from getting too comfortable with that first pitch?

    I can't help but think back to a playoff game against the Angels (2009?) when Jered Weaver poured in something like fourteen straight first pitch fastballs and nobody swung.  We lost that game 4-1.  Weaver only gave up two hits that game, yet the Sox continued to stick to that strategy.   I remember the commentators even mentioning that at some point you have to swing at a first pitch strike to get the pitcher off his game.  So, all I am saying is that when you have a pitcher who you know is more than likely going to throw a first pitch fastball for a strike, why not take a chance once in a while and rip at it.

     

     

     

     

    In response to Joebreidey's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to steven11's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to joel49's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Yes, it has worked in the past.  Not so much anymore.  Our pitchers are constantly victimized by opposition batters swinging at first pitch fastballs.  Other than Ortiz and AJ, our hitters generally pretty much start their AB's down 0-1 letting the best pitch of the AB (usually a FB down the middle) go by and then grounding out meekly or striking out on off speed stuff or pitches on the corners. Pedey's taking every first pitch and most first strike pitches has worked for him in the past. Not so this season.  He (as well as others) seems to be grounding into double plays more than ever, and the runners left in scoring position stat is over the top. Time to switch things up. Stop giving the pitcher those 0-1 counts, especially the control pitchers.

     




    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xGUBMmmQWM" rel="nofollow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xGUBMmmQWM" rel="nofollow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xGUBMmmQWM" rel="nofollow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xGUBMmmQWM" rel="nofollow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xGUBMmmQWM" rel="nofollow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xGUBMmmQWM" rel="nofollow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xGUBMmmQWM" rel="nofollow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xGUBMmmQWM

    [/QUOTE]


    That is how the Yankees got to Pedro. 

    [/QUOTE]


    [object HTMLDivElement]

    Not really.  We get behind 0-1 at almost exactly league-average rate.  The league average 0-1 count is 18.8 times per game. and we are at 19.2.

    OTOH, we are above-average at getting ahead in the count 1-0.  I'd guess that would indicate that taking the first pitch has an advantage.

    And since we are #14 out of 15 teams in OPS when swinging at the first pitch, I think your conclusion might be exactly backwards, with all duue respect.

    I'm curious, did you check any of this out before you posted?

    [/QUOTE]


    [object HTMLDivElement]

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from crazy-world-of-troybrown. Show crazy-world-of-troybrown's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    Tells you how bad (or stupid),Pitchers are these days. Last year in both Leagues, batters had a .217 avg. after a first pitch strike.

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from Joebreidey. Show Joebreidey's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    In response to crazy-world-of-troybrown's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Tells you how bad (or stupid),Pitchers are these days. Last year in both Leagues, batters had a .217 avg. after a first pitch strike.

    [/QUOTE]


    [object HTMLDivElement]

    It's a question of balance.  Getting behind 0-1 is bad, but getting ahead 1-0 is great.  But the worse thing to do in BB is to get into a pattern.

    Which is also why there is probably nothing to the idea that the first pitch you get is always the best pitch.  If any pitcher ever became so predictable, the hitters would know about it almost immediately and tee off on the guy.

    And I wouldn't look to hard for patterns.  I was watching a game where the EE took the first pitch almost every time, with dire results.  But I looked for that the next game and it wasn't there.  There is too much scouting for such a thing to become effective.

    Past that, there is situational BB.  A guy could have a 3.25, but maybe he weakens considerably on PC 76-100.

    Or maybe you see the opposing team used its entire BP the previous night and think you want to get into their BP, right?  Maybe, but the opposing manager is probably telling his SP that he wants at least 7 IPs so he wants a lot of early strikes.

    Or the last thing is that getting into the other team's BP is a lot more important in the first game of a 4-game series than in the last.  If you wipe out their BP in the last game, that only benefits their next opponent.

    In any case, I am pretty sure pitchers aren't grooving FBs down the middle against us.

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from S5. Show S5's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    Not all strikes are created equal.  Just because a pitch is a strike isn't a good reason to swing at it. Hitters are up there not looking for A strike, but for THEIR strike. A pitch THEY can handle.  OTOH, the pitcher wants to get ahead in the count but not throw the hitter the hitter's strike - so that's what they do and it's why the Red Sox hitters get behind in the count.  When they start swinging at the first pitch just because it's a strike they're most likely swinging at the PITCHER'S strike.

    Comparing two players, if I might.  Bradley and Napoli:  Both have excellent strike zone recognition so they're not going to swing at a pitcher's first strike unless it's also THEIR strike - and it usually isn't.  It's after this that the difference comes.  Napoli is very good at his craft of hitting.  When he gets his strike he can hit it a long way, and when he doesn't get his strike he can make contact with it.  See what he's doing this year with two strikes as evidence.  He's always been able to do that.  It's just that in the past he was looking for the five-run HR in every count.  When he sees HIS strike he will hit it, and if he doesn't see his strike he will now make contact better than he did in past years.  Why? Because he's a good hitter.

    Bradley... not so much.  He still has good strike zone recognition but he (rightfully) lacks the confidence necessary to be a good hitter.  It's as if he's always thinking that the second strike is the best one he's going to see so he'd better swing at it - regardless of where it is in the strike zone.  He's swinging at too many pitcher's strikes.  Unfortunately JBJ has fewer "hot zones" than does Napoli which makes JBJ a lot easier to pitch to with two strikes.

    What I find especially frustrating is the umpiring.  IMO Bogaerts hitting has gone downhill due mostly to the fact that while HE usually knows what's a strike the umpire doesn't.  Maybe it's only my own perception but it seems like I've seen many/several times this year when Bogaerts has been called out on a strike that isn't a strike at all - and he stands there with a frustrated look on his face.  He's now beginning to question his own ability to recognize a "strike" and it's affecting his hitting.  

    On the whole... working the count is a good thing.  Early in the game a 10 pitch AB is valuable regardless of the outcome of that AB.  That IMO may be the most valuable thing Napoli brings to the game - the ability to run up the count and get to the other team's bullpen.  As I've said here before, there's a reason these guys are in the pen.  They're not good enough to start and not good enough to close, and those are the guys we want to be hitting against.  The sooner we can get to them, the better.     

     

    Having the right to do something doesn't make it the right thing to do.

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinstripezac35. Show pinstripezac35's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    Not all strikes are created equal. Just because a pitch is a strike isn't a good reason to swing at it. Hitters are up there not looking for A strike, but for THEIR strike

    great point S5

    As I've said here before, there's a reason these guys are in the pen. They're not good enough to start and not good enough to close, and those are the guys we want to be hitting against. The sooner we can get to them, the better.

    I've that that myself

    so I guess I was wrong too

    or  at least it was more true at the time

    my point is BP's R so much better today

    young guys that used to be 4 & 5th starters

    now cut down on their amount of pitch selections

    and become middle/late BP studs

    love 2 C some stats about runs scored

    early vs late in games

     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from Teakus. Show Teakus's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    It's really more about not being concrete thinking automatons at the plate. Working the count to force pitchers to throw more helps not only for that game, but for the series. It's not just about knocking the starter out early, it's also to wear out the bullpen. But this should be a game by game and team by team decision, part of the scouting report. If a staff we're facing is fresh and the BP barely used-then it makes little sense to play the same as when a staff is beaten up. The problem is when idiots stand at the plate deciding in advance they're not swinging, and allowing fat, juicy, belt high fastballs to float over the plate. And, my personal pet peeve, is being called out on 3rd strikes right down the pipe. Little leagues teach the kiddies to protect the plate-shouldn't somebody teach Mike Napoli the same thing?

    Teakus-Carpe Veritatem!

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from maxbialystock. Show maxbialystock's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    OP struck a sympathetic nerve in me, especially after watching Gomes look at 3 strikes last night.  But I have to say pitching--except ours lately--is tough this year, especially on our lineup, but on other lineups as well.  Yankees ain't hitting that well either. 

    I do think there is a psychological element in this.  At the Twins before returning home for 3 against the Tigers, Ortiz hit two dingers in each of the first two games.  This should have inspired the rest of the lineup, but did not, and things only got worse at home against a good Tigers rotation.  Last night the Sox had 12 hits, including a 2 run dinger by Gomes and I think 3 doubles, but only scored 4 runs.  The Jays meanwhile were in homer heaven and scored 7, five off of Doubront and two more quick ones off Mujica (who else?).  Whatever the cause, the hitting remains down and now the pitching is going the same way.  

    So all in all I don't think changing the philosophy is the answer.  As others have said, the Sox need to find their pitch to hit and, the hard part, actually hit that round ball with a round bat squarely.  

     

     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from royf19. Show royf19's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    In response to Teakus' comment:
    [QUOTE]

    It's really more about not being concrete thinking automatons at the plate. Working the count to force pitchers to throw more helps not only for that game, but for the series. It's not just about knocking the starter out early, it's also to wear out the bullpen. But this should be a game by game and team by team decision, part of the scouting report. If a staff we're facing is fresh and the BP barely used-then it makes little sense to play the same as when a staff is beaten up. The problem is when idiots stand at the plate deciding in advance they're not swinging, and allowing fat, juicy, belt high fastballs to float over the plate. And, my personal pet peeve, is being called out on 3rd strikes right down the pipe. Little leagues teach the kiddies to protect the plate-shouldn't somebody teach Mike Napoli the same thing?

    Teakus-Carpe Veritatem!

    [/QUOTE]
    I guess you haven't noticed, but Napoli has adjusted this year when he's had two strikes, shortening his swing to put the ball in play. It's something that has been talked about on the radio broadcasts and TV broadcasts. It's something Napoli has talked about this year too.

    He's still going to strike out a lot, but he's on pace to strike out 145 times for the same number of plate appearances he had last year. That's a lot of strikeouts, but it's down considerably from the 187 strikeouts he had last year.

     

     

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from bosoxmal. Show bosoxmal's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    In response to royf19's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    And when the Sox go 1-2-3 in nine pitches or less, which happened the other day, there will be posts that the Sox are being too aggressive and not being patient.

    In fact, there were a couple of times over the weekend when the Sox had runners in scoring position and the next batter got out on the first pitch.

    When you're slumping and taking a lot of pitches, the complaint is you're not being aggressive.

    When you're slumping and not taking a lot of pitches, the complaint is you're not being patient.

    I still want the Sox to work counts, drive up pitch counts and wear down starting pitchers, because they've had great success over the years with that approach. But that doesn't mean, they shouldn't at times be more aggressive and change things up at times, especially if they have a great pitch to hit. 

    [/QUOTE]
    You never let a down-the-middle pitch go by. The batter has been standing on the on deck circle, and if he's got his eyes on sime cutie in the 3rd row, shame on him. That's the time he should be watching what, when and where, the pitcher is working. Stepping in the bucket and taking strike one is stupid; just plain stupid. What just sailed by may well be the best pitch he will see that entire AB.

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from royf19. Show royf19's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    In response to bosoxmal's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to royf19's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    And when the Sox go 1-2-3 in nine pitches or less, which happened the other day, there will be posts that the Sox are being too aggressive and not being patient.

    In fact, there were a couple of times over the weekend when the Sox had runners in scoring position and the next batter got out on the first pitch.

    When you're slumping and taking a lot of pitches, the complaint is you're not being aggressive.

    When you're slumping and not taking a lot of pitches, the complaint is you're not being patient.

    I still want the Sox to work counts, drive up pitch counts and wear down starting pitchers, because they've had great success over the years with that approach. But that doesn't mean, they shouldn't at times be more aggressive and change things up at times, especially if they have a great pitch to hit. 

    [/QUOTE]
    You never let a down-the-middle pitch go by. The batter has been standing on the on deck circle, and if he's got his eyes on sime cutie in the 3rd row, shame on him. That's the time he should be watching what, when and where, the pitcher is working. Stepping in the bucket and taking strike one is stupid; just plain stupid. What just sailed by may well be the best pitch he will see that entire AB.

    [/QUOTE]

    Didn't read what I wrote. Go back and read the item in bold.

     

     

     

     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from redsoxpride34. Show redsoxpride34's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    i think that balance is the key, you should swing at some first pitch fastballs but also work the count. The key is to know when to take each approach. You look at a guy like jackie bradley, he tends to work the count so much that he often takes too many pitches and puts himself in tough spot. I think as a team the sox take way too many first pitch strikes which puts them in a hole to start the at bat and leads to them chasing crap pitches. You have to make the opposing pitcher respect the fact you may jump on that first pitch fastball. By doing so, you force the pitcher to thrown a pitch he feels less comfortable and may not want to throw for a strike, thus giving you an early advantage in the count. 

     

     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from illinoisredsox. Show illinoisredsox's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    1st pitch you look for a particular pitch in a particular spot (say fastball middle in).  If that's the pitch you get, whack away.  If it's not that pitch, let it go. 

     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from royf19. Show royf19's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    FWIW, the Tigers have swung at the first pitch just 15 times more than the Sox, which works out to be one batter every three games (roundabout). The Tigers are batting over .400 and the Sox are batting .377 on the first pitch.

    Don't think it means anything one way or another, except to say I don't think the Sox are out of the norm when it comes to swinging at first pitches.

     

     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    We need to keep "working the counts", but some of our guys need to keep pitchers honest by swinging at a few first pitches. (Yes, I'm talking about Pedey too, despite his good numbers when behind on the count.)

    Sox4ever

     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from royf19. Show royf19's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    In response to moonslav59's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    We need to keep "working the counts", but some of our guys need to keep pitchers honest by swinging at a few first pitches. (Yes, I'm talking about Pedey too, despite his good numbers when behind on the count.)

    Sox4ever

    [/QUOTE]
    Of course, it should be noted that you want the leadoff batter to see as many pitches as possible -- with reason -- because it helps the other batters. Of course, mix it up, but I really don't want to see Pedey swing at the first pitch of the game.

     

     

     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from joel49. Show joel49's posts

    Re: Time to abandon the working the count philosophy?

    FWIW Encarnarcion has swung at the first two strikes he has seen from Clay tonight (admittedly not the first pitch of either AB).  The first a 2-0 FB, the second a 1-0 curve.  The result - two HR's.  Sometimes it just makes sense to swing at the first good pitch you see.  In my OP I mentioned how other teams seem to do it to us a lot. I just wish we would turn the trick once in a while.  I know I've seen Ortiz crush that first strike occasionally.  I know Nap goes for it once in a while, too.  Just don't be predicable is all I am saying.  



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xGUBMmmQWM" rel="nofollow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xGUBMmmQWM

     

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