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Monday, February 25, 2013

Bradford: Why Dustin Pedroia is heading into the new season a changed man

Maybe it would be winning another Most Valuable Player award. Or perhaps it could be career-highs in this or that statistical category. How about the Hall of Fame?

Dustin Pedroia will have none of it.

“I don’t set goals,” he fired back when asked about the chase for any tangible accomplishments.

He continued, “This is the main reason I don’t set goals: what if you set a goal that I want to steal 25 bases and then the first two months of the year I get 25 opportunities to run and I steal 25 bases in those first two months? Then what do I do? Do I go back to Arizona and hang out? In my opinion, that’s why I don’t do that. You stick to your process.”

There’s more. “This game is so result-oriented,” he added. “Everyone feels like everything has to be in line. If your starting pitcher makes a quality pitch and the guy knifes one over first base, that doesn’t mean his next pitch he has to change what he does. He doesn’t have to throw a little bit harder just because the guy got a bloop hit. If I stick to my approach and line out it doesn’t mean I’m going to come up in my next at-bat and hit like Gary Sheffield. … I show up that day to win. That’s it. That’s my goal. That’s the ultimate goal.”

Has he ever set goals?

“Never,” he said.

Thanks to Chet.

Repoz Posted: February 25, 2013 at 07:30 AM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox

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   1. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 25, 2013 at 08:09 AM (#4375512)
There’s more. “This game is so result-oriented,” he added. “Everyone feels like everything has to be in line. If your starting pitcher makes a quality pitch and the guy knifes one over first base, that doesn’t mean his next pitch he has to change what he does. He doesn’t have to throw a little bit harder just because the guy got a bloop hit. If I stick to my approach and line out it doesn’t mean I’m going to come up in my next at-bat and hit like Gary Sheffield. … I show up that day to win. That’s it. That’s my goal. That’s the ultimate goal.
Back when he first came up and had like a .150 BA in his first month, Pedroia told the media in the midst of his slump that he was actually hitting the ball well and he'd be getting results any day now the way he was hitting. The guy seems to have an insider's understanding of the randomness of baseball that serves him well.
   2. veer bender Posted: February 25, 2013 at 01:22 PM (#4375667)
An impressive grasp of the randomness, really, for a player to show, since acknowledging it can be seen as excuse-making in the jock world.

Maybe it's just that it's really hard to tell how a pitcher is throwing from the dugout*, but this results-oriented approach to pulling the starter has always bugged me. I swear, during one of the bad-bullpen-but-veteran-starters years, I became convinced that Francona had a "seven or seven" rule: the starter can not be pulled unless we've started the 7th inning or the opponents have 7 runs. (And just so this doesn't get filed under Francona-bashing, I don't think Francona was at all unusual in using results instead of stuff to decide when to pull a pitcher.)

* But, seriously, if that's it, and an amateur clown on the couch can see when a pitcher's stuff has collapsed before the results hit the scoreboard, then there's a real competitive advantage to be found in using video during the game. Or, you know, just empower your catcher a bit.
   3. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: February 25, 2013 at 02:10 PM (#4375699)
I think most managers use a "the hitters will let you know when the pitcher has lost" it approach. I think most managers are also hesitant to take a pitcher out too early lest they blow up their bullpen.
   4. Dale Sams Posted: February 25, 2013 at 03:20 PM (#4375766)
then there's a real competitive advantage to be found in using video during the game. Or, you know, just empower your catcher a bit.


I've said something similar in the past. I would be very interested in seeing the results of an experiment wherein a small group of people agree it's time to pull the pitcher and the OPS of the following batter. Also the OPS of a batter immediatly following a fifth inning+ visit to the mound. Now of course the following batter is going to do well, just by virtue of the pitcher 'being on the ropes'. But is the result going to be outrageous?

Now there's certainly some memory bias going on here, but I wouldn't be surprised when I'm in full "OMGGETHIMOUTOFTHERE" mode, the following batter has at least a .550 OBP.

If I can remember, I'll at least do a 'batter after a mound visit' study this year.
   5. Ron J2 Posted: February 25, 2013 at 04:06 PM (#4375790)
#4 Bill James reported on a mini-study he did on pitchers after a visit to the mound. As I recall it, the results were pretty ugly.
   6. veer bender Posted: February 25, 2013 at 04:11 PM (#4375792)
I think most managers use a "the hitters will let you know when the pitcher has lost" it approach.


Right, I'm just wondering why. Is it because they can't tell themselves? If so, there might be an advantage to be had in finding a better way - video from centerfield, or trusting your catcher's judgment.

But I'm guessing it's not entirely because they can't tell. I think there are a variety of factors at work, and some, like simple orthodoxy, are stupid, while others, like ego/clubhouse management, are the sort of things that are probably smart in the long run but frustrating for fans to watch. And that's the kind of thing that makes me appreciate Pedroia's rare perspective so much: if more pitchers thought that way, a manager could pull them before the results show up on the scoreboard without that pitcher thinking that his manager doesn't have his back and/or the rest of the team thinking he's a wimp for not fighting to stay in and get bombed.
   7. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: February 25, 2013 at 04:16 PM (#4375798)

Maybe it's just that it's really hard to tell how a pitcher is throwing from the dugout*, but this results-oriented approach to pulling the starter has always bugged me. I swear, during one of the bad-bullpen-but-veteran-starters years, I became convinced that Francona had a "seven or seven" rule: the starter can not be pulled unless we've started the 7th inning or the opponents have 7 runs. (And just so this doesn't get filed under Francona-bashing, I don't think Francona was at all unusual in using results instead of stuff to decide when to pull a pitcher.)


He might have actually had something like that, but I doubt it was a conscious, set rule. Francona would back his players, which included letting the pitcher pitch himself out of a bad inning or three instead of pulling him at the first sign of trouble.

As random as the game can be, I do think too little stock is put in routines for players. Starting pitchers need to think they are going to pitch into the 6th at least. Relievers like to know when they are going to come in. Batters like to know what spot they are going to be in the order.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: February 25, 2013 at 05:00 PM (#4375841)
If I stick to my approach and line out it doesn’t mean I’m going to come up in my next at-bat and hit like Gary Sheffield.

I'm still trying to parse this. I assume he's not dissing Sheff's hitting although that seems to be the easiest way to interpret it. He could mean it as "just cuz I hit a line drive one time doesn't mean I'm going to start spraying line drives all over like Sheff" ... but that would make more sense if he'd just lined a double. Does he remember Sheff as some flyball/HR machine, not a quick-bat line drive machine? Or is he just saying Sheff had a distinctive swing/stance and he's not gonna start tinkering just because he made an out.

Anyway, hitting like Gary Sheffield is just about the best thing anybody could do in baseball.
   9. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 25, 2013 at 05:02 PM (#4375843)
Or is he just saying Sheff had a distinctive swing/stance and he's not gonna start tinkering just because he made an out.
Yes.
   10. AT-AT at bat@AT&T Posted: February 25, 2013 at 08:42 PM (#4375994)
"I love baseball more than anybody in the world, but my family is first. My 3-year-old right now, he needs me. [Retirement] never came in my mind. I thought I would play until I was 45. This spring training, I've been away from them for three weeks and it's the worst feeling in the world.


First off, can someone explain that [retirement] thingy to me ?

I always liked Pedroia, because he just conveys that raw energy, the mindset to win, to fight, to outsmart you. Just what a baseball fan wants to see, both on offense and defense.
But this quote really makes him even more likable for me on a whole different level.
Sir Dustin, i hope your BA soars to .360 and stays there till the end of the season !!

That having been written, i predict Giants vs. Red Sox in the World Series !
Brandon Crawford vs. Dustin Pedroia... do it for the kids.

   11. Walt Davis Posted: February 26, 2013 at 01:11 AM (#4376089)
First off, can someone explain that [retirement] thingy to me ?

He and Vernon Wells are a couple.
   12. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 26, 2013 at 04:34 PM (#4376487)
Or is he just saying Sheff had a distinctive swing/stance and he's not gonna start tinkering just because he made an out.

Yes.

Probably alluding to Adrian's 'Ichiro! style' AB.

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