Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Clay Threw the Ball Really Well Last Night

After all, he said so himself. People seem to have a problem with that, for some reason. People seem to see comments like that as a lack of responsibility. Somehow saying "I sucked" is taking responsibility for a poor performance. While saying "I pitched well overall, just need to stop giving up key hits" is somehow not. Like he's claiming it was luck or something. Or that giving credit to the hitter somehow removes it from himself. Of course, when the Red Sox hitter hits a pitcher's pitch, we're willing to say that Hanley took a good pitch and deposited it in the bullpen. But, we can't seem to do anything but blame Clay when he thinks someone hit one of his pitches. 

I'm not sure of the disconnect.

Sure, some of it is perception. It always used to bug me when someone would strike out swinging against Dice-K, everyone would say that the batter helped him out by swinging at a ball. If the batter does that against Pedro, it's because Pedro got him to swing at a ball. Dice-K was lucky. Pedro was nasty.

But, I also wonder if it's a throwback to blaming the pitchers for everything. For so long, walks were a strike against a pitcher. They couldn't throw the ball over the plate. Only recently has the term "drawing a walk" become a positive for the hitter. Only recently has it seemed like it was something they could actually control. On Base Percentage has become a quantifiable stat, not an accident. 

Is Clay falling victim to that? It's not something that the hitter did. He didn't somehow put the ball in play on the perfect pitch. The hitter didn't do a great job and capitalize on the slightest mistake. Clay can't certainly claim that to be the case. Even if he made the perfect pitch, if it resulted in a home run we want him to say it was the wrong pitch. That he screwed up. It's the pitcher's fault, not the hitter's excellence.

And, we certainly don't want him to point out that a bad game can be the result of a very small number of mistakes. Especially if he doesn't admit that they were his mistake. 

Now, sure. Pedro used to say that if a fielder made an error, it was his fault. He allowed the batter to make contact with the pitch. Pedro would have thought that any hit he gave up was due to a lack of his execution. But, Clay's not Pedro. Nobody is. 

Perhaps it's unfair to expect him to be.

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