April 10, 2014

Rancho Cucamonga, San Diego, & Lancaster

What a first week of baseball season it has been.  We started with Minor League Opening Day on Thursday at Rancho Cucamonga.  Talk about a place I never thought I would be watching baseball.  It sounds like a jungle, but it is really a neat town near LA.  Chris pitched Opening Day and threw really well!  Rancho Cucamonga is only about two hours from San Diego, which is where my cousin Nick and his wife Victoria live.  Victoria blogs at Anchored by Faith about their life in the Navy.  Nick and Victoria are expecting their first baby in August and just happened to have their Gender Reveal party on Friday so I was able to drive to San Diego Friday morning.  It was such a blessing to be so close and get to spend such a special day with them and my Aunt Jan who was also in town.  San Diego is beautiful and they live right on the beach!  After spending some more time in San Diego Saturday morning, I headed back to Rancho Cucamonga to watch the game that night.

After the afternoon game Sunday, I headed to Lancaster for the rest of the road trip.  Chris pitched again Tuesday, and let's just say it didn't go nearly as well as Thursday's game.  It was just one of those frustrating nights at the baseball field.  I got on the road to head back yesterday morning because it was a six hour drive that I didn't want to make so late at night.  Chris got in around 3:30 this morning, so it has been a lazy day back in the cottage.

Tonight starts a seven day home stand.  I haven't even seen San Jose's field yet because we were only here a few days before we left for the road trip.  I am excited to spend a week here watching baseball after such a crazy week on the road.

Chris' Opening Day Final Line:
5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K

Chris' Lancaster Final Line:
5.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 4 K

I may be biased, but Chris actually pitched better the second game than the first.  He threw more strikes and was ahead in his counts more the second game.  It was just one of those games that nothing went his way.  It was frustrating, but I know he will take it and get better.

Chris is scheduled to pitch again Monday in San Jose if nothing changes.

Welcome back baseball season, you have been missed.

1 comment:

  1. Chris' teammates and coaches should have warned him, but FYI for you, Lancaster is one of the biggest hitter's friendly park in the Cal League. Check out this article, search for Lancaster, plus it'll give you more info on which parks favor hitters and which favor pitchers: http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/minors/season-preview/2013/2614870.html

    And this article has more info on the horrors that is Lancaster for pitchers, though Houston's director of scouting had advice for doing better there, which is keep the pitches down, but obviously no panacea: http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140205&content_id=66911570&vkey=news_milb&fext=.jsp&sid=milb

    So it wasn't in your head, he probably did pitch better, he just had a combo of bad luck with the batted ball (BABIP) and of pitching in Lancaster, a potent poisonous park for pitchers.

    Meanwhile San Jose's park is the most pitching friendly in the league. So he should try to get more home games! :^) Bowker noted 6-7 years ago that the background there is bad for the hitters to pick up some pitches, I don't know if that is still true, but maybe Chris can ask around. I think pitchers need to be conscious of that in SJ, so that they don't fall into any bad habits where in SJ he can get an out, but in another park, he gets blasted.

    Still, overall, the league is a hitters league, check out SF here: http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/level-to-level/

    So, for you, I think you got the right perspective, focus not entirely on the final results, as sometimes the ball does fly out there, but instead study whether he pitched well or not, throwing strikes, as that will always be under his control (for the most part, depending on the ump...), so the key is that he can strike out batters when he wants to, and get them to make weak contact when possible (minimizing homers), while not walking that many.

    That's the whole idea of the DIPS Theory, if you have ever heard of it, that pitchers can control only certain stats and thus those the metrics that best measure their skills set. But later experts have noted that pitchers are able to control how their pitches are hit, and that's why H/9 is all over the place in the minors as some are good and some are bad. But by the time the pitchers reach the majors, most are approximately the same as the others, only a few (like Matt Cain) are able to induce weak contact, so Chris should cozy up to Matt next year and pick his brains on how he does it.

    Good luck to Chris! Not that he needs it, a guy with a good 4 pitches that he can throw for strikes plus can get it up to mid-90's can make his own luck. Have fun!