Note of the night: If you bring up patience or drawing walks or even on-base percentage to Tony La Russa, there’s a decent chance you’re going to get a somewhat dismissive answer. It’s not that he devalues OBP — though he values it less than, say, I do. It’s that he feels that in at least some cases, an emphasis on patience and walks can put hitters in a bad spot.
He doesn’t want hitters going up thinking “walk” any more than he wants them going up thinking “home run.” I think his reaction to the idea is overly strong, but I see where he’s coming from.
Instead, the manager’s mantra is a simple one: swing at strikes. He wants his hitters to have a good strike zone, to lay off pitches out of the zone and be aggressive with good, hittable strikes.
For once, that’s what the Cardinals did on Wednesday. The outcome may not have reflected it, as four runs is not a total that jumps off the page. But if you watched the game, you saw hitters laying off pitches out of the zone, forcing Sam LeCure to come over the plate and taking good swings when he did.
As far as the approach, and the swings, and the contact it was one of the better games I’ve seen this team have this year. And it came in a situation that sometimes befuddles the Cards: facing a rookie with only one previous Major League game.
You may look at a box score, see four runs, and be unimpressed. But I think that’s misleading.
“We did a nice job, but he [LeCure] did a good job,” La Russa said. “He really made a lot of pitches behind in the count that were quality. … He did a good job. The catcher worked him really well. So we didn’t get much from him, three runs. He did a good job. But we were working.”
Stat of the day: Albert Pujols has reached base at least twice in each of the last four games, and 13 times total in those four games, bringing his on-base percentage up from .409 to .431.
Fun with double situational splits: Both of Felipe Lopez’s home runs this year have come at home against left-handed pitchers.
And, finally, the playlist:
Sleigh Bells, “Kids”
LCD Soundsystem, “Disco Infiltrator”
Bloc Party, “Helicopter”
Tame Impala, “Solitude Is Bliss”
M.I.A., “Born Free”