Determination

I understand Sports Illustrated last week highlighted the number of walks I’ve drawn so far this season, which was zero at the time. I now have two – one on May 12 and another on May 14.
The bottom line is I’m an aggressive hitter. I swing at pitches I think I can hit. When I see a pitch I can hit early in the count, I go for it. I swing at a lot of 3-1 pitches because they’re pitches I can hit. I’m not waiting, hoping for a walk. Would you rather have a guy who has 40 walks but only 30 RBIs and five HRs, or a guy who walks only a few times but gets 90 RBIs and 15 HRs? I want to hit and score runs.
The other thing I want to talk about is stolen bases. Teams have been running on us. I know it’s been disappointing for fans to see that. A defense has to execute three acts almost perfectly to catch a runner stealing. The pitcher has to get the pitch to the plate quickly. This is key because that act sets the sequence in motion. Then the catcher has to catch, release and fire to the bag quickly. And the fielder has to make the tag quickly.
Everything needs to click together. No one player can make it happen alone.
Last year, I had probably the best defensive year of my career – five passed balls all season, five errors and I threw out almost 40 percent of runners trying to steal, which was well above the league average.
So it’s kind of disappointing when I hear fans or guys on the radio taking me on for the steals. I’m the same player I was last year. As we get everyone working together, we’ll catch more runners and teams won’t be so quick to run on us.
I’m looking forward to returning to the Bay Area for our game Monday against the Braves. Traveling can be tough on your body and mind, especially the road trips when you’re in a city just two days. The last road trip, the one before this one, we went from San Francisco to Chicago, which is two hours ahead. You get in late, put your luggage down and go to sleep. You play the game the next night then come back to your room and pack because you’re leaving the next day after the game right from the ballpark.
Then you go to Colorado, which is another time zone. Then turn around in two days and go to LA – and play three tough games against the division leader.
I’ve been thinking about that last game against LA while I’m on this road trip. It went to 13 innings. We had no pitchers left to use. We fought and fought and Randy hit a two-run single in the 13th for the 7-5 win. As we struggle a little on the road this week, losing to the Padres despite great pitching from Zito and Sanchez, I think about that game – and others – when I watched this team come through. That game in LA showed who we are – that we’re fighters, that if we’re down a few runs, we can make something happen.
We all believe that. And we know we’re all in this together. This is a great group of guys – which is not to say we don’t get after each other. We do. But it’s all about pushing each other to perform as well as we know we can. No matter what happened yesterday or the day before, we arrive at the ballpark with the mindset that we can win every game.
We have Timmy tonight. I like our chances.

19 Comments

I agree. I’d rather have a guy hit 15 homers and drive in a lot of runs than have him walk too much and not do anything.
-Dillon
http://demboysfromthebronx.mlblogs.com

We fans can be too critical. Good luck to you guys turning it around!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Thanks for the insights into what’s going on with you guys. I’m confident that you’ll turn it around in Seattle!! Good luck!!
Lauren
http://sfgiantsgirl.mlblogs.com

Brother you know that criticism will be there no matter whether you are doing good or doing bad. It has been there for your entire career, you have been overlooked all the time. Who cares? You spot on the line up is to drive in runs and be aggressive at the plate. As far as the running the game goes, people that know a little about the game knows that the running game needs to be stopped by the pitching staff, they must give the defense a chance to get those runners out. If I?m not mistaking during that series against the Mets SF pitching staff were above 1.3 to the plate? That is not going to cut it! It is a combination of pitcher, catcher, and middle infielders what takes care of the running game, not just the catcher! Thank you for your effort and you are still and will be my son?s inspiration!

Yours in Baseball,

Danny A.

Personally I would rather you show more patience at the plate – it sends a message to the pitcher and to your team that this guy has lost a little control and the pressure is on him to throw it in the zone. The reak question is would I rather you have a higher on base percentage or maybe get a base hit half that time. I’ve been a Giants fan since the mid 80’s and the one thing I always loved about the giants was their patience in the batters box because it frustrates the other teams pitcher and then he makes mistakes to the next guy. I see this team swinging away at everything and so the pitcher sees all the guys in the line up doing it and feels like he doesn’t have to throw a strike to get an out. You may feel like you are getting more hits by swinging away early in the count, but at what expense? I don’t feel it benefits the team to play that way. Especially being one of the more talanted veterns on the team you must lead by example – and if all the guys see you hacking away early they will follow your lead – and they don’t have the skills yet to get the big hit swinging at balls 1 or 2 feet off the plate. As a loving fan I’m begging this team to become more patient in the batters box – it will help give everyone more strikes to hit and in turn more runs will be scored.

Bengie – Win or lose, it seems like almost every game this year has been so hard fought by everyone on the team as if we were playing the Dodgers in game 7 of the NLCS every single night. For that alone, I’m proud to be a Giants fan despite wherever we happen to be in the standings that day. I wonder, though, what sort of mental and physical toll these close games are taking on you and the other players. Are you daily workouts any different? What’s the tone in the clubhouse like before and after games?

Bengie,

Love your blog. Love your work behind the plate and at the plate. I am a life time Giants Fan (54 years old so I am talking since they moved to San Francisco in 1958) and you are the best catcher the Giants have had both offensively and defensively. I love your attitude, hard work, and clear desire to win.

That said, Begie you are dead wrong as to what is the most important job at the plate. Not making outs is job number one. I get that you want to get a good pitch to hit and that sometimes the best pitch comes early in the count. But history shows that more often then not the best pitch to hit comes later in the count after making the pitcher work and waiting for him to make a mistake. There is nothing wrong with taking a walk if you never get that mistake. Walks are good because they are not outs. Giving in to the pitcher and swinging at his pitches just results in maximizing the number of outs you produce.

As I see it the Giants biggest offensive problem is being way to aggressive. The team as a whole swings at way too many pitcher’s pitches and does not display the patience needed to wait for a mistake to rake. Starting pitchers are going too deep into games aginst us because we let them keep their pitch counts low by swinging way too often. Because of this we are missing too many middle relievers that are the easist to hit and just facing the back end (setup and closer) of most bullpens after the starter departs.

Bottom line, the greatest improvement you can make Bengie at this stage of your career is to learn the value of a walk. Not making an out is good. Making the pitcher work is good. Raking pitchers mistakes is good. Trying to hit pitcher’s pitchers and thus maximizing the number of outs you make is bad.

Wow!! Nothing like a batting slump to bring out all the armchair hitting coaches. As Giants fan it is obviously frustrating to see our boys put up only 5 runs in the past 4 games. But where do people get off giving hitting advise to a 12 year veteran?? Every big-leaguer confronts hitting slumps and they work through it. So what if Bengie is a free swinger. A clean-up hitters’ job is to hit bombs, not draw walks. We as fans naturally have short term memories, but let us not forget how clutch Bengie has been up until now. I am confident this slump will pass, we have put up good run support earlier this season so I know it’s possible. Keep fighting Giants!!
-J. O’Neill
http://joneill.mlblogs.com/

First of all (and off-track), congratulations on the coming birth of your little daughter. We were really inspired by your comments on NBC about the family link with your father and your new family member. We think all of the fans are overjoyed that Jamie and you are together for this little treasure.

As far as stealing is concerned, the season is still young. We think the Giant’s will come up with their own share of the steals.

I hope you make it into the All Star Game! God bless you and your wonderful family!

Come on guys…you can play better than this !! Just Do It ! play small ball..

First off Bengie you need not to worry what the “arm chair catchers” are saying about you. Listen to your team and coaches. That’s what they are there for. I saw you guys last night in Seattle and start to finish no one could doubt that the Giants were fighting and fighting hard. Keep doing your best and the rest will come around.

Bengie, it was GREAT to see My Giants get the W Saturday night in Seattle. Thanks to you starting the RALLY in the 8th inning. Matty was AWESOME on the bump! That is directly related to YOU and your knowlege of Mariner hitters.You’re one of the BEST backstops I’ve had the pleasure to watch play and know personally. I knew the team was going to get outta the funk,it was just a matter of when. Keep up the good work and let’s get a LONG WINNING streak started. GO GIANTS!!! P.S. Thanks for signing that bat for my friend Robert in LA. He thanks you very much.

Bengie – Don’t forget the pitcher needing to keep the runner close in the first place. Besides, you can’t just forget about the guy at the plate and call all fastballs. Trying to throw someone out on a breaking ball in the dirt is one of the hardest things to do. You’ll be fine, man. Don’t feel you have to justify or explain yourself.Russhttp://wight4256.mlblogs.com

Bengie,
I like what “dsix” wrote about the aggressive swinging. You have been aggressive all of your career which works for you, and your results prove it. But the other younger hitters are much less succesful than you. It drives me crazy when the opposing pitcher is struggling and issues a four pitch walk and the next batter comes up and grounds out on the first pitch! (I understand the hitter’s thinking is that the pitcher will “aim” one in there). I would love for the team to get together before the game and agree not to swing at anything until they have at least one strike! The enemy pitchers know that the Giants swing early and aggressively so they seem to be “first-pitch nibbling” expecting the young hitters to offer at stuff out of the zone. I love the “game within the game”…and am a Giants fan since 1966 up here in Seattle. (Nice wins last Saturday against the M’s and yesterday against Braves).
We as fans take for granted that the team is on the radio or TV right on schedule. I appreciate what you said about the travel, timezones, packing, etc. We don’t see or always know about the difficulties the team went through to get to another city after a late-game extra-inning affair.

Bengie,

I am a Japanese fan of you living in Japan.
I love your clutch hitting and brilliant presence behind the plate.
With Pablo Sandoval injured, you continue to work so hard behind the plate. Your dedication to the team should be admired.
Things, I believe, will be going around soon. Good Luck !

Minoru

Ps.
I enjoy Fantasy game. You are an absolute catcher in my Fantasy team. You are always in the starting line-up of my team. I believe in you. Go in and win!

I’m making the trip to San Francisco to see my two favorite teams and two favorite catchers play this weekend (Cardinals, Giants and two Molinas behind the plate…life does not get much better than that). Although a Lincecum-Carpenter matchup might have been epic. The way both teams have been pitching, the games should be great! Hope you do well, but not two well…my Cardinals need to stay on top of the Central. : )
-Kathy
http://redbirdchatter.mlblogs.com

If it makes you feel any better, you’d probably throw me out everytime if I tried to steal on you😉
http://eatsleepmlb.mlblogs.com

Good luck with the road games that are starting today! I think as fans we are right to be critical of our own team just because we put so much passion and hope to the game and plus paying alot of money to see you guys do well. Possitive reinforcements do help but at the same time you guys need to be called out too. Congrats on finally getting married. GO GIANTS!

I hear you, Bengie fans are too critical.
Good luck, this season!

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