A funny thing happened last night. After sleeping for about two hours last night, I suddenly awoke. A groggy glance at the clock told me that it was 12:51 AM, and I immediately realized that was the perfect time to check the Pirate game. Seconds after turning on the television, the commercial ended and I saw that we were heading into the top of the ninth inning with the Dodgers leading 5-2. I immediately decided that this ending was going to be so glorious that God himself woke me so that I would not miss it. Two K's, a single, and another K later, and the game was over. I realized that this was just another of those moments that I must endure in order to make the 2007 World Championship that much sweeter (I will talk about my unwavering optimism in a post in the near future).
The one interesting thing I saw before falling asleep in the second inning was Jason Bay's single in his first at-bat. The one thing I would like to see Bay improve on for 2007 is his two-strike approach. Too often he still seems to be looking for a pitch to drive in these situations as opposed to simply trying to put the ball in play somewhere. Because of this, his strikeout total is high as he often is fooled by the pitch. Many times he goes down chasing a breaking ball off the outside corner (presumably looking fastball) or is frozen by the heat (possibly expecting something offspeed). I would like to see him shorten his swing with two strikes and react to the pitch rather than guess what is coming. Keeping his hands back and going to right field should decrease his strikeouts and make his game that much stronger. Not to mention he can still hit some homeruns in these situations, with his tremendous power to the opposite field.
Now to get back to what prompted all of that rambling. In the second inning last night, Bay was facing a two strike count (I think it was 1-2). The pitch was a slider, the type of pitch Bay doesn't always seem ready for when behind in the count. Granted this particular slider was pretty poor (flat and right out over the plate), but I was encouraged by the solid single Bay delivered up the middle. His swing was short and he seemed to be looking for just a base hit.
If the Pirates can acquire their power lefty this offseason to protect Bay, he should be able to cut down on his strikeout total. Here's hoping that player isn't a repeat of Jeromy Burnitz.
Looking forward to getting to watch the game tonight. Let's start another win streak.