Pirates should exploit free-swinging Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers have extended their domination of the Pirates into the 2014 season, sweeping a three-game set at Miller Park last weekend.
Carlos Gomez (.623 slugging percentage), Aramis Ramirez (.503), Ryan Braun (.500), Jonathan Lucroy (.472) and Mark Reynolds (.458) are providing serious power for the Brewers, who had baseball's best winning percentage (.733) entering play Thursday.
Milwaukee has managed to score at an above-average pace (13th in the majors in runs) despite drawing the third-fewest walks (6.1 percent of plate appearances) in the National League.
Such impatient teams rarely succeed long term, though, as opponents eventually take advantage of their free-swinging tendencies.
The Pirates should do just that, baiting the Brewers into chasing pitches thrown outside the strike zone that batters rarely hit hard.
Milwaukee has the second-highest chase rate in the majors this season, lunging at nearly 35 percent of would-be balls.
The Pirates, by contrast, have chased about 29 percent of the time.
Gomez (39.7 percent chase rate), Ramirez (38.7 percent) and Braun (38.1 percent) are the Brewers' three biggest offenders. Ramirez (29 percent career chase rate) and Braun (32.6 percent) are hacking much more than usual, while Gomez (36.9 percent) always has let it fly.
Taking their cuts
Team O-swing pct.
MLB Avg. 28.8
Chances are, the Brewers' big sluggers will tighten up their strike zones or suffer the consequences. Major league batters are slugging nearly .500 this season when swinging at a strike but under .240 when chasing out of the zone.
The Pirates feature several pitchers who should be able to capitalize on the Brewers' impatience, including Mark Melancon (40.7 percent chase rate dating to 2013), Jason Grilli (36.7 percent), Bryan Morris (34 percent) and Gerrit Cole (30.6 percent).
David Golebiewski is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Pirates plan to carry Hurdle deep into playoffs
- Pirates notebook: Martin feels ‘pretty good,’ will start vs. Giants
- Volquez latest rehabbed arm to get ball on big stage for Pirates
- Harrison’s ‘magic’ has helped to carry Pirates into MLB’s postseason
- Scouting report: Giants at Pirates
- 20 improbable Pirates wins in 2014
- Tekulve to throw out 1st pitch of Pirates’ postseason
- Mercer’s improved defense at shortstop gives Pirates a boost
- Pirates analyst Kent Tekulve recovering after heart transplant
- It’s official: Volquez to start Wednesday for Pirates
- Lambo no longer in limbo with Pirates