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.