Day 12: Seeing Cutch’s reflection in Polanco
After several days of watching Gregory Polanco in batting practice, I’m most impressed with how hard he hits the ball when he perfectly squares up on it.
One thing I’d noticed about Andrew McCutchen is his ability to pull a ball so squarely, it does not bend at all. You’ve all seen right-handed hitters pull balls hard that naturally curve foul. But McCutchen can hit a ball so hard, it stays on a straight line. I’ve never seen anyone else able to pull that off (no pun intended).
Well, Polanco can do the same thing, pulling a ball to right. Seeing the ball off the bat, you expect it to curve foul. But it stays straight and true and darts against or over the fence.
If you’re going to be mirror image of someone, Cutch is not a bad reflection to choose.
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A typo in a local newspaper had the Pirates going through “Sprint Training.”
Is that a speed drill? Or, learning how to properly use a cell phone?
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Buccos pitchers aren’t exactly lining up at trainer Todd Tomczyk’s office for those new cap pads available to offer them extra protection from line drives hit back to the box. They find it bulky and awkward.
MLB has approved the use of the paddings, manufactured by 4Licensing Corporation subsidiary isoBlox, but I’ve yet to hear of a pitcher interested in using it. Not even Brandon McCarthy, whose frightening 2011 shelling by a liner actually spawned the R&D leading to the padding’s creation.
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Not Pirates related but — remember when reliever Heath Bell was called into the 2011 All-Star Game in Chase Field, and became an instant fan favorite by taking the mound with a hook slide?
The “slide” has turned out to be prophetic.
In the first half of that season, Bell had converted 26 of 27 save opportunities, and had not allowed a home run in 37 innings, while fashioning a 2.43 ERA.
Since the slide: He has blown 19 of 70 save opportunities, allowed 21 homers in 155 innings, and has an ERA of 4.24.