6/16 Being in the right situation

Lou Piniella was asked about situational hitting and went into a detailed explanation that one can only hope the players pay attention to:

“Situational hitting is knowing the opposing pitcher, having a pretty good idea about what the catcher is calling,” Piniella said. “This is one of the things I don’t like about hitters going up all the time and watching film of their at-bats [in-game]. I think you learn more sitting on the bench watching the pitchers pitch and the catchers call a ballgame and seeing what a guy can get over, seeing what he’s having trouble with and not getting over.

“At the same time,” he said, “there’s nothing wrong with being really aggressive the first couple pitches of the sequence. Once you get two strikes on you, you have to get into a defensive mode. You’re not in an offensive situation anymore.

“When you strike out with runners on base and especially runners in scoring position, you’re not advancing baserunners,” he said. “One of the things that helps you score cheap runs is the advancement of the baserunner. How does it help you? You move a runner to third. The guy’s got a real good curveball. Well, he might not want to throw that real good curveball because he’ll bounce it and the guy could score [from third]. But if the runner stays on second, he can bounce it all day long and you’re not going to get a run on it. Things like that.

“Situational hitting is having a good idea of what the opponent is going to do to you, being a little more defensive when you’re behind in the count and three, utilizing the whole field to hit with.”

— Carrie Muskat

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