Rod Barajas stepped to the plate in the fourth inning last night, with the bases loaded and one out. The Pirates trailed 2-1 and Tommy Hanson was struggling with his control. He had walked the two previous batters, the most recent on only four pitches. Barajas stepped in, hacked at the first pitch and grounded into an inning-ending and rally-killing double play.
Barajas took quite a bit of heat on Twitter for swinging at the first pitch when Hanson was clearly having control issues. I understand and mostly agree with that school of thought. When a pitcher is struggling, a hitter never wants to let him off easy. But let's take a closer look at the situation.
First of all, keep in mind that Hanson received a coaching visit to the mound right before the Barajas at-bat. With the bases loaded and the young right-hander fresh off two walks, I think we can safely assume what was discussed during that meeting. Hanson needed to find the strike zone. It is a pretty good bet that he would want ...
Matt has covered the Pirates at Wait ‘Til Next Year, Pittsburgh Lumber Co. and now Pirates Prospects. He served as Pirates team expert for Heater Magazine in 2009 and 2010 and has contributed to Graphical Player 2009, 2010 and 2011. Matt was also the editor of the 2011 and 2012 Pirates Prospects Annuals.