June 9, 2006

Mistakes

Curt Schilling threw only three of his 96 pitches from the stretch. They came in the third inning, after Johnny Damon doubled. Melky Cabrera lofted a 1-1 pitch to short center and Damon was doubled off the bag. Curt: "It was kind of a weird game. I made four mistakes. I left three splitters up for two homers and a double. And I left a slider up for [Williams's] homer. I've got to eliminate my mistakes."

Why is it that when pitchers discuss "mistakes" they made during a game, they are almost always home runs? Couldn't at least one of those homers not have been a mistake? And couldn't Schilling have made mistakes that were fouled off or hit for outs? "Mistakes = home runs" seems way too reductive. ... But maybe that's just what pitchers tell writers.

Steve Buckley highlights Alex Gonzalez's key eight-pitch at-bat and double lined past Alex Rodriguez in the sixth inning -- it knocked in Jason Varitek and broke a 3-3 tie. Slappy said it was a tough play -- one he makes maybe three or four times out of 10. ... That's clutch, baby!

Example

Coco Crisp has been bothered by a blister at the base of the middle finger of his left hand, so he's now wearing one batting glove. ... Keith Foulke sat out a sixth straight game because his back did not respond well to an indoor throwing session. ... David Pauley doesn't care if he's in the pen this weekend: "Anything that's going to keep me up here, I'm more than happy to do it."

Submariner pitcher Josh Papelbon was chosen by the Red Sox in the 48th round of this week's draft. Jonathan on Josh: "Out of the three of us brothers [Josh's twin Jeremy [also a pitcher] was chosen by the Cubs], he's always been the hardest worker out of all of us. Nothing has really come easy to him, so he's always worked harder than both of us. That will play out well here."

Pedro Martinez is in line to pitch in Fenway on June 28, although if the Mets don't use a fifth starter after an offday that week, he'll face the Sox on June 27.

12 comments:

Pokerwolf said...

"Mistakes = home runs" seems way too reductive. ... But maybe that's just what pitchers tell writers.

Home runs can only be blamed on pitchers. Other hits/scoring/etc involve the fielders, so the pitchers can't take full blame sometimes.

Foul balls, hit outs, and other results don't equal runs so they don't qualify as "mistakes" unless they lead to a score.

That's my best guess anyway.

Jere said...

Maybe pitchers think of it like this: A mistake isn't a mistake until it's capitalized upon.

Gehrig38 said...

Take a minute to check the video, I left all 4 pitches knees to belt high, middle of the plate. When you are going good, or great, they get fouled off, taken, or hit at someone, when things aren't clicking they end up souveniers...

redsock said...

I left all 4 pitches knees to belt high, middle of the plate.

Hey, Curt, thanks for stopping by! If you return ...

I'm not sure if your comment was directed at me, but my thinking was that you must have left more than those 4 pitches in that area last night. (Maybe not.) And if so, they obviously did not end up being hit over the fence.

Re Jere's comment: what would you call a pitch that was left in a batter's zone that should have been hammered, but wasn't? Is that a mistake?

brian said...

I'd love to see a Schilling/Petey matchup during that series. Also hope Petey gets a standing O. I will be upset if he gets booed. He didn't go to the enemy like someone else we know and pitched his heart out for us.

L-girl said...

Also hope Petey gets a standing O. I will be upset if he gets booed.

Me too. He deserves nothing but thanks. Then a loss, of course.

Jere said...

That's the first time anyone ever adressed me and Curt Schilling directly one after the other!

I was just kind of agreeing with your theory, that there are a lot more mistakes made, but pitchers aren't going to refer to them as mistakes unless severe damage is done to them. Like, after a perfect game, they're not going to say, "Yeah, I made a lot of mistakes tonight. Remember that foul tip by Sixto Lezcano, the only ball the other team made contact with? HUGE mistake. I'm pissed at myself."

Re: brian: Of course Pedro will get a standng O. He deserves it. I know I'll always love the guy.

And Curt, on behalf of my family dating back several generations, thank you for what you've done.

Beth said...

Simple re the mistakes =/= home runs question: pitchers will not be asked to discuss mistakes that don't become home runs or hits, or even mistakes that don't become crucial hits, because no one ever knows about them but pitcher, catcher, possibly batter and only the very occasional sharp-eyed sportscaster.

Beth said...

note to self: next time read comments on blog before commenting, lest the pitcher in question has already answered the inquiry.

d'oh.

Jack Marshall said...

Redsock: I think you just like to tweak Curt Schilling. The point is that if pitches you throw exactly the way you want to end up in the bleachers, it might be time to start planning that retirement. (The same applies if you can't stop throwing too many "mistakes.")Schilling's commentary translates into, simply, "I know what I did wrong, and I know how to stop it." It is the alternative to "I threw good pitches: give those guys credit. They hit them" and "I don't know what I'm doing wrong!"

Similarly, I don't think many readers are interested in hearing about which hard-hit 6-3 grounders came on "mistakes." People ask about the big hits, and to his credit, Curt has an intelligent answer.
And I did look at the videotape: all four were certainly high fastball mistakes. Now all we need is for Cury to convince Josh Beckett not to throw those same pitches on purpose.

redsock said...

Not at all. But I do understand why a pitcher would not want to say, "Well, I made about 30 mistakes tonight, but fortunately, the other team couldn't take advantage of any of them."

Zenslinger said...

It is good of Curt to stop by.