First of all, I owe the loyal Shorebirds blog fans a sincere apology. I will do my best to be a more consistent blogger.
Last night was pretty cool for me. Al Bumbry, former Orioles outfielder, sat right beside me in the booth for nearly the entire game. During mid-inning breaks we chatted about a wide array of topics. He was also nice enough to pop the headset on for a live pregame interview. Al has a really high baseball IQ to this day.
One thing he told me that he is trying to get his son, Steve Bumbry, to do more often is get in the box early and survey the defensive alignment. I use the word survey a lot in my basketball broadcasts, but not so much in baseball until now. In basketball, a point guard will come up the floor and “survey” the defense (what type of defense – man to man, zone, are there any mismatches and so forth). Last night, Steve led off the eighth inning against a left-handed arm that was pitching well. He wound up striking out. Al wanted to him to slap a bunt by the pitcher and towards the hole on the right side and use his speed to beat out a single. Why? The infield was playing back and of course Steve is a lefty batter. I don’t think people realize how much thought goes on pre-at bat. Where is the defensive? How many outs? What are the pitchers tendencies? Attack first pitch?
Baseball truly is a thinking man’s game.
One word to describe Ryan Berry right now? Dominant.
Over his last three outings (21.0 innings pitched), he has allowed only one run on 12 hits. By the way, Berry has fanned 25 batters in his last three starts. Last night, he struck out a career high 10 batters. The only problem right now is that he is still without a win. For whatever reason, the Shorebirds bats have been very quiet when Berry is on the hill.
In the 36.1 innings that Berry has pitched, the Shorebirds offense has produced just 10 runs (five of them came in one start against Greensboro).