6/6 Walk this way
The Cubs have tried to stress to Ryan Theriot the need to be more patient at the plate and take more walks. Lou Piniella has even joked that he’s going to take away the infielder’s car keys. But after Saturday’s game, Theriot said looking for walks is a “defensive” approach and doesn’t like it.
“It’s a defensive approach if you hit a lot of doubles and drive in a lot of runs,” Piniella said Sunday. “His job is to table set. He’s not hitting three, four, five in the lineup. His job is basically more of table setting than a table cleaning.”
Theriot’s on-base percentage has dipped each month, from .370 in April to .257 in May to .111 in June.
“You can make a lot of money with a high on-base percentage and scoring a lot of runs,” Piniella said. “That’s what teams are looking for. When they look for a player, the first thing they look at is what’s his role on the team? What’s his on-base percentage? How many runs does he score? Does he steal bases? Can he move the guy over, can he bunt? Those things make you money.”
A perfect example, Piniella said, is San Diego’s second baseman David Eckstein. His on-base percentage in April was .314, then .359 in May and .368 so far in June.
“I don’t look at it as a defensive thing,” Piniella said. “It’s putting a base runner on base. It’s making the pitcher throw more pitches. It’s giving your team on the bench an insight into the pitcher. What is he getting over? What is he not getting over? I think a walk is for your [Nos.] 1-2 hitters, [Nos.] 7-8 hitters. It turns the lineup over. It gets people on base.
“If that’s the way [Theriot] is looking at it, he’s looking at it the wrong way.”
— Carrie Muskat