Friday, May 09, 2008

The Joe Torre Way

Tony Jackson wrote a great article about the Joe Torre method of Baseball. Sure, it means longer games, but who cares if your winning. More importantly, the Dodger players appear to be following the skipper all the way.

A hitter goes to the plate not to swing at just anything that might be in the strike zone but to swing only at those pitches in his own hot zone, at least early in the count. That usually means he's looking for a pitch in a specific quadrant of the strike zone.

By laying off anything outside that area, the hitter runs the risk of falling behind in the count. But he also greatly reduces the chance he will chase something that initially looks like a strike but ends up being far beyond the zone and far beyond hittable.

In an age when starting pitchers rarely are allowed to go much beyond 100 pitches, a frequent by-product of this approach to hitting is that opposing pitchers have to throw so many pitches to each batter that they reach their limits and must be lifted by the fifth or sixth inning. That gives the Dodgers a crack at hitting against what presumably is the weakest part of any team's staff - the middle relievers.

It's so simple and brilliant at the same time.

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