We are done with the first half of our road trip, and currently enjoying a day off. We got back from Akron last night after going 2-3 on the first half. Not something to get too excited about, but it is a huge improvement from the 0-6 that we went on our first road trip. We played some really close and hard fought games, two of which went extra innings.
I threw on Saturday, and for those of you that didn’t catch the box score the line was 6.1 IP 6 H 4 ER 2 BB 1 K. The line seems a little odd, so I will explain some of it. Akron is a very disciplined team at the plate. They lead the league in walks as a team, as well as leading the league in not striking out. One of my walks was intentional, we pitched around their catcher Santana. I also gave up 2 solo home runs, which were my two big mistakes of the game, other than that I threw the ball pretty well. I did a good job of getting ahead of their hitters, which is what allowed me to pitch deeper into the game. Their leadoff hitter really hurt me, he was 3-3. Although he had an infield single on a chopper that was just out of my reach, and a broken bat flare for a double. The kid can absolutely fly though, he is someone that you would like to keep off the bases. The final comment about the outing is that it was important for me to pitch deeper into the game because we were a little short in the bullpen due to the double header the day before.
So after the off day today, we head to Reading for a 3 game set with the Phillies to finish out the road trip tomorrow. Thanks for all of the support from fans on here, the fact that everyone is going out of their way to come out to see some baseball games is awesome. I will try to do a better job of letting everyone know when I am pitching. So I pitch the first day that we get back from Reading.
Last thing before I close out this post, how bout them Buccos? They are looking really good right now. Pitching and defense will take you a long way in this game. Well thats all for today.
Thanks for the update and great job in your last outing. I hope you guys do well in the remainder of your road trip. And yes – lots of us love going to minor league games! Good Luck and stay healthy!
HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY KID!
Super job on your last outing!
Thanks Julia, yea you guys really do, and I think that it is awesome. Its really great, abnd I am glad to see it.
Hey Kath, thank you very much.
Thank you Brian. Much better than the last trip to Akron, too bad you didn’t come out to see this one.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a good analytical article of the effect Joe Kerrigan has had on pitching performance in the organization (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09121/966827-63.stm). Comparing last year’s stats to this years, something obviously changed to lower the team ERA from 5.08 to a league-best 3.41. The story from the coaches and pitchers is that his message is get first-pitch strikes, and DK provides stats on batting averages when for hitters with an 0-1 count as well as the hitting average on a first-pitch strike when thrown (about 1 in 10) even when it is predictable you will throw a first pitch strike.
The interesting thing DK points out, though, is that the five starters this year are throwing less first-pitch strikes than the group from last year when pitching was atrocious, but puts forth a theory that Kerrigan preaches throwing more strikes in general as the number of walks given up has decreased this year to last, and that this accounts for the quality starts in the organization.
It sounds like buying into Kerrigan’s philosophy can knock 50 points off every batter’s average, which that and fewer walks keeps runners off the bases and keeps them from crossing the plate. I have to say that even though success has yet to be seen in the throwing of more first pitch strikes, the philosophy has already demonstrated success with the rest of those pitches.
Do your coaches have you working towards this same philosophy (you mentioned not interacting much one-on-one with Kerrigan)? Tom Gorzellany couldn’t / wouldn’t throw strikes in spring training and is cited as the reason he went back to AAA. I would think the system would all have to be on board for this to work.
Brian- That is a very good article, and it does provide some very important insight into our pitching approach. I actaully said it in an earlier post, but first pitch strikes are very important, and even more so throwing 2 of the first 3 pitches for strikes. We have been exposed to all sorts of batting averages for different counts that hitters are in. It is pretty telling stuff. Our organization, from ground up, preaches forcing contact, and not walking hitters. That means throwing more strikes, which for the most part is going to improve your overall pitching stats. And to clarify one thing, throwing more strikes and not walking hitters does not mean giving in and just laying strikes in there. It means staying aggressive, putting hitters on the defensive.