Monday, October 17, 2011

Analysis Paralysis

Under the circumstances, the Tigers fared pretty well on Saturday. Without Tanner and Alex, we went to the fifth inning trailing by only one run. We had the meat of our order coming up to bat, and our leadoff hitter reached base. The next two batters put the ball in play, and the leftfielder made a great running catch when we had our baserunner stealing on the pitch. That’s baseball!

In the bottom of the 5th we only had eight fielders. Shaw Park slapped four singles to centerfield. Brandt did get two outs. Only then did those last two errors completely sink our morale. That late in the game, we were living on borrowed time anyway.

In all, we committed seven errors. Only two of them led to additional runs. In rec ball, errors are the nature of the beast. There are always going to be weak fielders in at least one key position (or three). The pitcher and catcher need to focus on the batter, and not throw to bases. Its tough getting that in their young heads! A lefty will seldom pick a runner off third. This also speeds the game along, giving us more at-bats. Brandt should still throw to first, since he has such a great pickoff move.

We walked seven. Of those, four led to runs. Take away these four, and the two runs off errors, and we win. But it’s unreasonable to expect this team to play perfect baseball.

We were outhit 6-2. There’s usually going to be one or two batters who have a bad game. Last week it was Brandt, this past Saturday it was Matthew. Everyone else put the ball in play (or walked) at least once.

22 plate appearances

2 hits (Nate & Thomas)

4 walks (Harrison & Randal…Nate had two).

3 reached on errors (Brandt, Jayln, & Randal)

6 hit into outs

4 of 9 baserunners scored.

7 struck out (5 in a row). Tough to score when almost a third of the batters strike out.

Thoughts on positions: We’ll never make everyone happy, or be fair to everyone. Some like to stay in one position the whole game. Others like to move around. Players earn (and lose) playing time at the prime positions with their play. There’s no shame in going all out to win one game. Against us, I’d say the Nationals have played their best lineups and pitched their best pitchers.

1. We’re probably at our best when Jayln pitches the first three innings…I think the Nationals (except Grace) are a little scared of him. Then Brandt, with Tanner ready just in case.

2. The best player possible needs to play shortstop every inning: either Tanner or Jayln.

3. Since so few balls are hit to the outfield, Brandt’s excellent fielding is best utilized in the infield…either first, second, or short if needed.

4. Harrison has struggled at catcher, but done ok at third and first. He doesn’t seem to mind playing an inning or two in the outfield, as long as it’s not the whole game.

5. Same with Thomas. He’s uncomfortable playing second, though he’s done well at first and third.

6. Nate is fine with catching every inning.

7. Some, like Matthew, seem ok with playing the whole game in the outfield.

8. Marlon is uncomfortable at third, but has done ok at second. He has voiced frustration with batting last and playing so much outfield. It was a great idea for him to bunt. Unfortunately, he can’t seem to break his habit of stepping toward first base when he swings.

Being head coach is often a thankless job. Things never seem to go as planned. Some things I’d never think would work turn out great. “Sure things” sometime turn into disasters. I certainly stress out about too many things that really aren’t important.

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