Sunday, August 31, 2008

Great Series and Professional ABs for the Reds and Dickerson

While sweeping an inept team like the Giants doesn't exactly warrant a parade, it was impressive, especially since the Reds are an equally inept team right now. Also, it was a fun weekend for a fan-base in dire need of some good news.

Watching the series, I was struck by the number of quality at bats taken by the Reds, especially on Sunday against a tough starting pitcher in Matt Cain. During the final game of the series, Reds hitters had the following breakdown of their At Bats:

Pitches Seen: # of Times

6 Pitches Seen: 6 Times

7 Pitches Seen: 2 Times

8 Pitches Seen: 1 Time
9 Pitches Seen: 0 Times
10 Pitches Seen: 1 Time

Not surprisingly, the white-hot Chris Dickerson was the one grinding out the 10 pitch At Bat. And, as if to underscore his supernova like status, it was the SECOND TIME in the series that he had a 10 pitch At Bat. In the modern game where the pitch count reigns supreme, the fact that 1/10 of the pitches were used on a single Chris Dickerson At Bat is of incalculable value. Over the three games, Dickerson saw a total of 68 pitches. On the season, Dickerson is living up to his reputation as a "late-count hitter" by seeing an average of 4.24 pitches per plate appearance. Of course Dickerson will come back to earth eventually, but it's fun to dream on his current level of production.

Another impressive game was had by Jay Bruce on Sunday. Bruce drew 3 walks and saw pitches 7, 6, 5, 5, and 6. He looked disciplined and did a very nice job controlling the strikezone.

It's hardly coincidental that all of these high pitch At Bats resulted in 17 walks over the three game series. And, it's also hardly coincidentally that the Reds won ALL three games of a series in which they drew 17 walks. A team wide disciplined approach is what is required on this team, so hopefully this is indicative of what's to come.

The Reds offense needs to get better at controlling the strikezone. The battle over the strikezone is the preeminent element of the sport of baseball and the Reds need to be relentless during their At Bats in 2009. This series is evidence that they may be capable of actually doing it and of exactly what can happen when they are.

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