Jul 27, 2010, 2:08 PM EDT
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and the Braves get another shot at Stephen Strasburg.
Baseball is a game of matchups. Pitcher vs. hitter. And those matchups are repeated. Three or four times during a game. Ten or 12 times during a season. Dozens of times during a career.
Every pitcher has a book (usually mental, sometimes physical) on every hitter he's ever faced. And every hitter has the same for every pitcher he's faced. Over the course of time, they come to know what to expect from their opponent. Whether the pitcher likes to throw breaking balls to get ahead in the count. Whether the batter is susceptible to changeups low and inside.
Once one side has figured out the other, it's up to that player to recognize what his opponent is trying to do to him and make the necessary adjustment. Start throwing fastballs earlier in the count. Lay off those changeups. At which point there's a whole new round of adjustments made. It's a never-ending cycle, and it's what makes this game so intriguing to so many.
Any pitcher can fool an opposing lineup the first time he faces them. But can he make the necessary adjustments to do it again the next time they square off?
For the last seven weeks, Stephen Strasburg has enjoyed the luxury of mowing down opponents who had never faced him before. It's a decided advantage for the pitcher, especially one with his incredibleRead more »
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