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Do we rely too much on homeruns again

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QUOTE(Damen @ May 5, 2006 -> 02:31 PM)
Personally, I'd be happy if Pods doesn't run against another non-Cleveland catcher for the rest of the year.  I feel much better about Gooch, Thome, Konerko, and Dye to be able to create a big inning once Pods gets on base, than to make Iguchi waste a couple strikes every at-bat - all for Pods 50% stealing efficiency.

 

Great post. When you add someone like Thome to your lineup, you're not trying to play small ball.

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QUOTE(fathom @ May 5, 2006 -> 08:32 AM)
Great post.  When you add someone like Thome to your lineup, you're not trying to play small ball.

 

Still, you need the threat of Pods running to be part of the equation.

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QUOTE(fathom @ May 5, 2006 -> 02:32 PM)
Great post.  When you add someone like Thome to your lineup, you're not trying to play small ball.

 

Even though Jim Thome is a major candidate for Most Valuable Hitter in the American League thus far, he is still a .280 hitter.

 

It's all about getting one run at a time. These HRs are nice, but if your leadoff man reaches base with no outs, you sacrifice that #2 hitter to get him into scoring position.

 

And while Scotty Pods sucks hard at baseball, it's still a dumb philosophy to just sit around and wait for a HR.

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QUOTE(YASNY @ May 5, 2006 -> 02:34 PM)
Still, you need the threat of Pods running to be part of the equation.

 

Yes and no. Iguchi's a much better hitter when he's not trying to protect Pods at the plate. Even if Pods isn't active on the bases, pitchers will still pay a lot of attention to him. I'm not saying Pods shouldn't try to steal. However, I think he needs to cut back on his aggressiveness on the bases until he can either regain his speed or his confidence. With our home run hitters at 3-4, it's not wise to be making outs trying to steal 2nd (unless there's two outs with Iguchi up).

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The Sox Defensive Efficiency is currently 0.724, which is actually higher than last year (0.720). Obviously it is still early, but that is a good sign, especially with the fact that several players have already missed some games.

 

I don't think the Sox are relying on the HR like in previous years; the biggest difference is Jim Thome is in the middle of the lineup now.

 

I would not consider being tied for 5th in the AL relying on the HR. HRs are up for all teams this year.

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QUOTE(fathom @ May 5, 2006 -> 08:41 AM)
Yes and no.  Iguchi's a much better hitter when he's not trying to protect Pods at the plate.  Even if Pods isn't active on the bases, pitchers will still pay a lot of attention to him.  I'm not saying Pods shouldn't try to steal.  However, I think he needs to cut back on his aggressiveness on the bases until he can either regain his speed or his confidence.  With our home run hitters at 3-4, it's not wise to be making outs trying to steal 2nd (unless there's two outs with Iguchi up).

 

If Pods never goes, then we are back to playing station to station baseball that failed year after year in the Maggs, Lee, Thomas era.

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QUOTE(hammerhead johnson @ May 5, 2006 -> 02:39 PM)
Even though Jim Thome is a major candidate for Most Valuable Hitter in the American League thus far, he is still a .280 hitter.

 

It's all about getting one run at a time.  These HRs are nice, but if your leadoff man reaches base with no outs, you sacrifice that #2 hitter to get him into scoring position.

 

And while Scotty Pods sucks hard at baseball, it's still a dumb philosophy to just sit around and wait for a HR.

 

Why sacrifice with the #2 hitter and give up an out to get to Thome? Thome has the most strikeouts in baseball over the last 5 years. He's not exactly up at the plate trying to dump a ball into the outfield to drive the runner home. Also, due to his style of hitting, he's not a big double play threat. I'd rather assure myself of having someone on base for both Thome and PK in an inning instead of giving up outs. I still think the biggest equation to our offense will be if Dye can stay hot/healthy at the plate. With our superstar 3-4 hitters, he's going to have a ton of ABs with runners on.

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QUOTE(YASNY @ May 5, 2006 -> 02:45 PM)
If Pods never goes, then we are back to playing station to station baseball that failed year after year in the Maggs, Lee, Thomas era.

 

Station to station baseball failed because we had s***ty pitching. Again, I never said that Pods shouldn't be going. I just don't think he should be trying to steal every time he gets on if he's getting out on the bases half of the time. I have no clue why Ozzie doesn't try to utilize the hit-and-run more with Iguchi at the plate. He seems a lot more comfortable doing that than he is protecting the runner.

Edited by fathom

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QUOTE(hammerhead johnson @ May 5, 2006 -> 08:39 AM)
Even though Jim Thome is a major candidate for Most Valuable Hitter in the American League thus far, he is still a .280 hitter.

 

It's all about getting one run at a time.  These HRs are nice, but if your leadoff man reaches base with no outs, you sacrifice that #2 hitter to get him into scoring position.

 

And while Scotty Pods sucks hard at baseball, it's still a dumb philosophy to just sit around and wait for a HR.

Yup. Gotta use both - small ball and long ball. I really don't get why people seem so focused on one or the other, as if it were the magic bullet. If we live off the 3 run HR, like we did 2001-2004, we won't be nearly as successful. Same if we have no power and just try to scrap all the time. But with both, we have a really strong offense.

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QUOTE(hammerhead johnson @ May 5, 2006 -> 09:39 AM)
Even though Jim Thome is a major candidate for Most Valuable Hitter in the American League thus far, he is still a .280 hitter.

 

It's all about getting one run at a time.  These HRs are nice, but if your leadoff man reaches base with no outs, you sacrifice that #2 hitter to get him into scoring position.

 

And while Scotty Pods sucks hard at baseball, it's still a dumb philosophy to just sit around and wait for a HR.

 

I am a little confused by your Podsednik observation. I think he is bordline "suck hard" in the outfield, but his offense has picked up dramatically since the start. He is not as good as we made him out to be last year, but he can definitely compete and contribute. His legs are probably not strong enough this year to keep him close to the league lead in SBs, but if he picks his spots to run carefully and Thome is batting behind the Gooch, his presence on the basepaths alone should be enough to get him to home plate somehow on a consistent basis. In fact, I'll bet money that, barring injury, Pods will score more runs this year than last.

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QUOTE(fathom @ May 5, 2006 -> 08:46 AM)
Station to station baseball failed because we had s***ty pitching.  Again, I never said that Pods shouldn't be going.  I have no clue why Ozzie doesn't try to utilize the hit-and-run more with Iguchi at the plate.  He seems a lot more comfortable doing that than he is protecting the runner.

 

I know we've improved our pitching and our defense, but you just can't totally abandon the threat of Pods running. It messes with opposing pitcher's head and puts pressure on the defense. You get the 1B holding him on, infielders cheating toward 2nd and moving on the pitch, the CF coming in to back up the throw. There is lot more to consider than just his success rate.

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QUOTE(YASNY @ May 5, 2006 -> 02:50 PM)
I know we've improved our pitching and our defense, but you just can't totally abandon the threat of Pods running.  It messes with opposing pitcher's head and puts pressure on the defense.  You get the 1B holding him on, infielders cheating toward 2nd and moving on the pitch, the CF coming in to back up the throw.  There is lot more to consider than just his success rate.

 

And that's what I said all along. Don't abandon it, but just be a little wiser in when he goes, etc. Against pitchers with a quick delivery and a strong throwing catcher, Pods has had no chance this year. You can still distract a pitcher without attempting a steal. Pods could go 0 for the rest of the season on the bases, but pitchers will still concentrate to hold him on base. What we can't have happen is for Pods to be picked off once or twice a week, especially when it's just due to him having too big of a lead.

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QUOTE(fathom @ May 5, 2006 -> 09:32 AM)
Great post.  When you add someone like Thome to your lineup, you're not trying to play small ball.

 

Except Jim Thome also leads the team in getting on base/drawing walks, and he is an excellent baserunner, dispite his speed, who takes an extra base whenever he gets a chance. I know Thome himself isn't a smallball guy, but he does give the bottom of the line up a lot more chances to get runners over and in, and seemingly has allowed guys like AJ to go from trying to hit homers, to trying to get hits again.

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QUOTE(fathom @ May 5, 2006 -> 08:53 AM)
And that's what I said all along.  Don't abandon it, but just be a little wiser in when he goes, etc.  Against pitchers with a quick delivery and a strong throwing catcher, Pods has had no chance this year.  You can still distract a pitcher without attempting a steal.  Pods could go 0 for the rest of the season on the bases, but pitchers will still concentrate to hold him on base.  What we can't have happen is for Pods to be picked off once or twice a week, especially when it's just due to him having too big of a lead.

 

Pods still has to find his comfort zone on the basepaths. If he never goes, he'll never find it. I don't like the way he's been running either, but I know how valuable his intimidation by speed can be.

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QUOTE(southsider2k5 @ May 5, 2006 -> 02:54 PM)
Except Jim Thome also leads the team in getting on base/drawing walks, and he is an excellent baserunner, dispite his speed, who takes an extra base whenever he gets a chance.  I know Thome himself isn't a smallball guy, but he does give the bottom of the line up a lot more chances to get runners over and in, and seemingly has allowed guys like AJ to go from trying to hit homers, to trying to get hits again.

 

Yep, Thome is one of those OPS kings. Like I mentioned earlier, he's not up at the plate trying to move the runner along or hit a sac fly in a key spot. He's aiming for the concourse most ABs (and boy is it fun to watch).

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QUOTE(fathom @ May 5, 2006 -> 09:58 AM)
Yep, Thome is one of those OPS kings.  Like I mentioned earlier, he's not up at the plate trying to move the runner along or hit a sac fly in a key spot.  He's aiming for the concourse most ABs (and boy is it fun to watch).

 

Yeah, there is no doubt he is one of the few guys that everyone in the stadium stops what they are doing to watch. And I'll tell you the results are a lot more fun with him on our side :usa

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QUOTE(fathom @ May 5, 2006 -> 08:53 AM)
And that's what I said all along.  Don't abandon it, but just be a little wiser in when he goes, etc.  Against pitchers with a quick delivery and a strong throwing catcher, Pods has had no chance this year.  You can still distract a pitcher without attempting a steal.  Pods could go 0 for the rest of the season on the bases, but pitchers will still concentrate to hold him on base.  What we can't have happen is for Pods to be picked off once or twice a week, especially when it's just due to him having too big of a lead.

 

Yeah, that's kind of how I see it. Pods will still attract attention, even when he isn't attempting to steal almost every time he gets on. If a pitcher begins to ignore Podsednik, that's when he should take off - kind of like my boy Ross Gload's sb a few games back.

 

That's not to say he shouldn't ever run, but he should severely reduce his attempts. Personally, I think his basepath mentality now is more out of stubborness and selfishness than it is out of a desire to help the team.

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You play smallball when you have to... when your offense is in a slump and you need to start something or if you just need to scratch out a run for a victory (see the nice end to the last game in Anaheim) . I think this team has done the smallball when it's had to, but that just really hasn't been too necessary.

 

Think about this, here are our losses for the season:

 

2-8

3-4

7-11

3-4

7-13

3-4

1-5

1-7

 

While we've had 3, 3-4 losses (obviously, 1 run games), the other games we have lost we just haven't really been in. I'd say don't worry about the small ball stuff. We're showing that this team can totally mash the ball and I think that we know that we can do the small stuff when we need to. I'd be more worried about our bullpen coming around than relying too much on homeruns, espeically considering that we "relied" on homeruns last season.

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QUOTE(Damen @ May 5, 2006 -> 03:02 PM)
That's not to say he shouldn't ever run, but he should severely reduce his attempts.  Personally, I think his basepath mentality now is more out of stubborness and selfishness than it is out of a desire to help the team.

 

I think it's more of desperation of him to try and find his old speed and ability. He's just a step and a half slow now.

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QUOTE(fathom @ May 5, 2006 -> 02:45 PM)
Why sacrifice with the #2 hitter and give up an out to get to Thome? 

 

You get that runner in scoring position with one out, and you give both Thome and Konerko a chance to drive that run in. You play for one run at a time, especially against prototypical #1 and #2 starters. That's winning baseball IMO.

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You can have it both ways: The '90s Indians teams ran Lofton and Vizquel on the bases at the top of the order and then reverted to station-to-station ball further down in the lineup. If you have the talent, they're not mutually-exclusive.

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I agree with Wedge. You don't run when your middle of the order hitters are crushing the ball. You change your style depending on the hitters, the opposing pitcher, etc, not one style and one style only. The Sox can, and will, play smallball when they need to. Because Thome, Konerko, and Dye have been so hot to start the season, the Sox haven't had to play a lot of smallball, but they have when they needed to with approximately the same success as last season. This is NOT a return to the station-to-station failure of Maggs, Lee, etc.

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QUOTE(fathom @ May 6, 2006 -> 01:06 AM)
I think it's more of desperation of him to try and find his old speed and ability.  He's just a step and a half slow now.

And he's getting towards that age where it gets harder and harder to keep stealing bases.

 

I don't think he'll be back here next season, but that's JMHO, and you'd have to look at who'd replace him (Owens, Sweeney, FA etc.) and who would leadoff for him so there's a few factors to consider here still.

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QUOTE(DBAH0 @ May 5, 2006 -> 08:27 AM)
I don't think he'll be back here next season, but that's JMHO, and you'd have to look at who'd replace him (Owens, Sweeney, FA etc.) and who would leadoff for him so there's a few factors to consider here still.

 

I think there's a strong possibility that you're right.

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QUOTE(hammerhead johnson @ May 5, 2006 -> 09:24 AM)
You get that runner in scoring position with one out, and you give both Thome and Konerko a chance to drive that run in.  You play for one run at a time, especially against prototypical #1 and #2 starters.  That's winning baseball IMO.

Thome isnt exactly a singles hitter, so most likely with a base open, he will get walked. So you have effectively taken the bat out of our best hitter's hands just to move a runner who had around a 50 percent chance to get to second with Thome up anyway. In that situation, it almost makes more sense to let iguchi hit and try to advance Pods to 3rd on a single, or back to 1st on a fly out. Its more beneficial to let iguchi try and either drive PODS in, or advance him to 3rd on a good at bat, instead of taking the bat out of his hands, and then taking it out of Thome's hands. With your reasoning you are taking the bat out of two of our top hitter's hands, with no real benefit over what could have occurred without a sacrafice. This is the overall change that has come to with a 3rd place hitter with a .500 OBP, and 40 HR potential.

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