Thursday, February 19, 2009

Live Pitching & Sluggish Bats

Today was the first day of "live" batting practice. That's where the pitchers pitch off the mound to the batters, rather than the coaches doing so. As I said yesterday, usually the batters are WAY behind the pitchers. Today was no different. Also, the pitchers tend to throw about 80% of maximum and do not throw much in the way of off-speed pitches.

In the early rounds, batters usually "track" a large number of pitches to the catcher's mitt without swinging. This is done to help them to get their timing down. When Tim Lincecum was the first pitcher to throw....the batters took this technique to the extreme. So extreme, in fact, that not one person in the group shown to the left, swung at a single pitch offered by Timmy. I didn't count, but I would estimate Lincecum threw 30 pitches or so.....and not one swing. I don't know if Timmy's velocity was up, or if it was just too early for batters to be able to pick the ball up from his unusual delivery. It looked like he was throwing strikes, so I don't think that was the problem.

Lincecum was followed by Barry Zito, then Bobby Howry, Jack Taschner, Keiichi Yabu and finally Alex Hinshaw. For the most part the pitchers' control was a little off (as expected) and the batters timing was more than a little off. The batters only swung maybe 40% of the time and made very little contact at all. What little contact they made was not impressive, with VERY few line drives. None of this is too much different from what I have seen in past years, EXCEPT the fact that no one would even attempt a swing off of Lincecum. That's a little unusual.

After these six pitchers threw, all of the batters came back for another round of traditional batting practice with the coaches throwing. The batters made much better contact in the second round of BP. Before BP, the Giants had a rather long session of infield practice where the infielders and pitchers teamed up to practice situational fielding. Unlike yesterday, Rich Aurilia took grounders at 1B, SS and 3B. For the miost part, the same players who were on the main field yesterday were there today.....mostly veterans.

Today's practice was the longest session to date. I left at about 1:00 PM, and they were only about half way through the second round of BP. Tomorrow should be more of the same.


Anonymous said...

Hitters using the "Timing" excuse so Timmy doesn't make them look

Lewis A. said...

I love your blog, the pictures are great, and the light observations are entertaining. All the official MLB news is so A-rod heavy that its nice to feel like I'm sitting there with you at spring training. Keep up the great work. Also, are you a reporter, or do you just have an awesome life?

Giantfan9 said...

I am retired from the real world.....and my current job is following baseball.

Anonymous said...

Not only does he have an awesome life, he has an awesome wife!

It's hard to find a women who loves baseball!

My GF is a Dodger fan :(