Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: June 5, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

I became a baseball fan at a very young age. My father use to bring the portable black and white television into our backyard and he’d watch the Cubs game and read the newspaper while I ran around and pretended to be whichever Cubs player was hitting or pitching. As time went on my enjoyment of the game grew more and more as I began to understand the ins and outs of the game. There was nothing more I liked than sitting down to watch a baseball game and seeing how a pitcher was trying to set up a hitter and how that hitter would try to counter wat the pitcher was trying to do to him. Now sadly over the last few seasons I’ve come to realize that I don’t enjoy the game as much as I use to and I think I’ve finally figured it out.

I’m drawing a blank on which game I was watching, but this team had runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. Now normally this sets up for a big inning and can really put a game away for a team; well not this time. The first out came on a weak grounder to 3rd base and with a drawn in infield there was no chance for the runner on 3rd to score. this batter had an incredibly poor approach at the plate as he was trying to hit everything he saw out of the ballpark and never came close. So one out with runners on 2nd and 3rd still could play into a big inning, but the next man up chased a ball that was in the left handed hitters batters box and grounded out weakly to the first baseman. Again with the infield still in there’s was no way that the runner on 3rd could’ve scored. So after two really poor at bats with two runners in scoring position this team still had one more chance to try to drive those two runners home. One of their young and what they hope is a future superstar was up. This batter worked the count to 2 & 2, but sadly like all young players seem to do in todays game he swung at a curveball that just about bounced on home plate and struck out for the final out of the inning.

It became incredibly clear watching this team try to drive these two runners in what one of my biggest issue is in todays game. Situational hitting is dead; as none of these three batters that made the outs had any idea what to do at the plate except swing for the fences. When an average flyball would’ve gotten this team at least one run they couldn’t even get the baseball out of the infield when it counted. The pitch recognition in these three at bats was just terrible as well.

After watching these three horrendous at bats I started thinking what I miss in baseball. I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw a batter try to intentional hit behind a runner. There’s also a huge lack of quality two strike hitting. I know there are still a few players who will choke up on the bat and try to take the baseball the other way with two strikes, but there aren’t very many. With the stolen base pretty much legislated out of the game for some reason I was trying to figure out if teams still hit and run. These kind of things use to be considered as playing winning baseball, but no longer. Now if you can’t hit a home run very time you come up to the plate you’re looked at as a failure.

Now one of the reason I’ve heard that players no longer develop these skills because teams don’t pay for them and only power hitters get the big contracts. I’m not sure how much I believe this or how much truth there is to it, but if there is any truth to it then it’s a crying shame that baseball has went down this path.

Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not against home runs in any way. They’re one of the best parts of the game even though it seems like there’s something going on this season with the large amount of home runs being hit. My problem starts with the other stat that seems to come with home runs these days; strikeouts.

Bryce Harper has struggled with the Philadelphia Phillies after getting that big contract, but he does have 11 home runs. Of course Harper has also struck out 79 times in the 61 games he’s played this season.

Javier Baez is a legitimate MVP candidate for the Chicago Cubs and he hit his 15th home run last night. Now Baez has always had an issue with strikeouts and this season is no exception. In 57 games this season Baez has struck out 78 times while walking just 16 times.

Mitch Haniger and Domingo Santana of the Seattle Mariners and Will Myers of the San Diego Padres have each struck out 77 times this season. Haniger has 15 home runs in the 61 games he’s played while Santana and Myers have each hit 10 home runs. Santana has played in 60 games while Myers has appeared in 59 games.

While these five players are managing to hit some home runs they can’t get seem to cut down on those strikeouts, but that’s not the case for all of the home run hitters.

Last seasons MVP Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers has hit 22 home runs in 54 games while striking out just 39 times. Yelich has even drawn 36 walks this season. While Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers has hit 20 home runs in 59 games this season he is also one of just a handful of players who has more walks than strikeouts right now. Bellinger has 36 walks to just 35 strikeouts.

So as you see not every power hitter strikes out at a high rate, but you have to wonder if they had done some situational hitting in some of their at bats if those strikeout numbers may be lower. Of course the trade off may be they’d have a few less home runs depending on the situation they might have been able to exchange a strikeout or two for some RBI’s.

I still do get confused on what’s considered important in baseball today, but I do believe that the team with the most runs still wins the game and a few less strikeouts and a few more RBI’s could give your team some extra wins. Isn’t that the goal?

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @Burketime.

Don’t forget that the Sports Time Radio podcast airs live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live just head over to TuneIn.com and you can listen to the podcast any time you want.

 

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