Pirates pre-game notes: On second-half adjustments against Gregory Polanco
September 16, 2016 6:25 PM
Gregory Polanco drives in a run Monday against the Phillies.
By Bill Brink / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
CINCINNATI — Take a look at Gregory Polanco’s production in the first and second halves of the season.
First half, in 344 plate appearances: .287/.362/.508, 38 walks, 71 strikeouts
Second half, in 198 plate appearances: .227/.273/.449, 12 walks, 38 strikeouts
“They’re not throwing him the same pitches,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “... You’re not going to keep getting pitches you splatter.”
Looking a little closer, the percentage of strikes Polanco has seen has stayed pretty consistent throughout the season, and actually increased slightly in the second half. He’s making hard contact 38.5 percent of the time in the second half, compared to 34.9 in the first half but the different in August and September has been reversed: 40 percent in August, 33.3 percent in September.
How does that affect balls in play? He hit 26.7 percent line drives in the first half, 19.6 percent in the second. The fly ball rate has increased accordingly, from 32.8 percent in the first half to 43.9 percent in the second.
Polanco, Hurdle said, isn’t getting the pitches down and in, or up and out over the middle to outer half, or pitches to hit when he’s ahead in the count.
“He’s going to have to find ways to adjust, and he will,” Hurdle said.
***A.J. Schugel (arm/front of shoulder) threw a bullpen session today. Hurdle said the Pirates still believe Schugel and Neftali Feliz (arm) will pitch again this season.
***Starling Marte (back spasms) will not start tonight because Hurdle wants him to be available for one of the two games Saturday and doesn’t want to risk that by playing him tonight. “It’s not any one thing” that is keeping Marte, who really wants to play, off the field, Hurdle said.
***Some Reds who are hot in the past week: Joey Votto (12-25, two homers), Brandon Phillips (10-18, two doubles), Tyler Holt (6-12, two doubles).
***Since the Reds replaced pitching coach Mark Riggins with bullpen coach Mack Jenkins, Cincinnati’s pitching staff has a 3.92 ERA. They had a 5.51 ERA, the worst mark in the majors, when the change was made July 4.
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