Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The check swing

There were various howls of outrage Monday afternoon when veteran umpire Joe West called veteran hitter Torii Hunter out on a check swing against veteran closer Joe Nathan.

My thoughts:

  • Hunter probably should have gotten another pitch;
  • Nathan would have thrown another slider out of the zone;
  • Hunter would have been starting his swing early again;
  • Sooner or later, we would have gotten to the same result, strike three on a check swing.

If you're familiar with this corner of the Interwebs, you know that I'm not invested, as much of the metro sports opinion makers are, in the notion that Hunter is still an outstanding player. My investment is to the contrary, that Hunter should not have been signed. So take this as coming from one who may be seeing what he wants to see.

If Torii Hunter has to, in baseball parlance, "cheat" against the 2015 version of Joe Nathan -- by which I mean start his swing prematurely -- we're going to see a lot of check swing strikeouts from him. Nathan doesn't have the velocity he had in his glory days with the Twins, but all those check swings from Hunter suggest that Hunter has to cheat to get to the fastball.

Or they might suggest that he's seeing slider and starting the swing in hopes it's a hanger. But I never had the notion that Hunter was in command of that at-bat, just as I never had the notion that the Twins were going to get to David Price.

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