Always Making Adjustments — Brandon Crawford

Wish we could have kept the win streak going so Willie Mays could have had a happier birthday. But with 10 wins in the last 14 games, we’re climbing out of the hole we dug for ourselves last month.

I didn’t get a hit today, but with my 3-for-3 yesterday my batting average is higher right now than my career average, and somehow I’m leading the team in home runs and RBIs. I’m pretty confident I will not be holding that spot when the season’s over. I know my strength is defense, but I always expect to contribute at the plate, too. I know it’s in me to hit  higher than .250.

So, like every hitter in here, I’m always trying to make myself better. So last month, when — despite the home runs — I found myself swinging and missing more than usual, I needed to figure out why. I realized I was getting a lot more off-speed pitches than usual. It started with that first series on the road against the Padres. I had seen mostly fastballs in our season-opening series against Arizona. So when the Padres went with mostly off-speed stuff, I wasn’t really prepared. Then other teams started doing it, too.

Usually, about 60 percent of the pitches I’d see would be fastballs. I knew I wasn’t seeing that many, so I went and looked it up. Sure enough, fewer than 50 percent of the pitches were fastballs.

So I had to adjust. I had to get better at handling off-speed pitches. It’s tough to practice that, though, because in almost every batting practice you’re seeing only fastballs. You can program the pitching machine in the batting cage to throw whatever you want, but I don’t find it really useful. You know the pitch is coming and you can just sit on it. You get into that rhythm, and it’s not realistic. Although . . . having said that, I am sitting on the change-up or curveball more. And if I get a fastball, I can still try to take it.

Chad Chop has helped me get better. He’s one of our batting practice pitchers. He joined the Giants last year, and he’s little younger and stronger than the other ones we have. So I’ve gotten him to mix the pitches up to me. He’ll toss in a change-up or curve among the fastballs. And he’s a lefty. It’s probably why I’m hitting left-handed pitchers better.

Glad to see my fellow Brandon get his rhythm back, as he talked about in his blog post this week. He went 2-for-3 today, crushing a double and triple to the wall, and is 6-for-13 with four doubles and one triple in his last four games. He knows I carried Team Brandon (our hitting group) last month. I told him he had to step up in May. I’m happy I could give him the motivation he needed.

Thanks for coming out to all the games and sticking with us through a rough month. It’s a long season, and I think sometimes people — even in baseball — lose sight of that.

And thanks for reading!

23 Comments

Since I don’t live in the Bay Area, I’ve been keeping up on all the games on the At Bat app, it is so exciting to see you leading in four different batting stats! Don’t sell yourself short, I’m sure you have it in you to keep it going.

Thank you so much for posts !!! I really enjoy reading them:0)

We’re with you guys, through thick & thin! Thanks for the post…and let’s go beat those Marlins!

Hi! I can’t tell you how exciting it is to watch you field the ball. Simply amazing and you make it look so easy. Your at bats are hot right now and I hope it continues throughout the season. Do you have a preference as to where you bat in the line-up? Oh, and how fun was it to film the commercial in the car with Fareed and Feldman? The expressions on your face always make me laugh. Thanks for that.

It is good to here from you. I am a season ticket holder and I really enjoy watching you play. My son used to play shortstop. I can’t believe that the Giants have won 3 championships in the last 5 years. Looking forward to more. Keep up the hitting and good denfense.

I love the insight. I write about fictional baseball players, but I do use a lot of what I’ve learned about the game as a lifelong fan in my books. I can only guess at what it’s like to play the game, but I thing blogs like your help.

I also love seeing the pictures of you with your family. It’s nice to see a real-life happily ever after.

Would you two Brandon’s be game to do a “Periscope” interview now and then with fans? What you do with your blog here is phenomenal, but Periscope would allow fans to ask you questions real time. I know you might not have any time, but other MLB players and us fans are starting to do Periscope. With periscope, you broadcast on an iPhone streaming vid and the followers can ask you text questions as the broadcast is under-weigh. It is totally cool!

For the record, Belt got so robbed today by his 430 foot blast. Who ever designed center to be that deep did a shitty job. 🙂

You know the fans will stick with you all the way through the season — and (hopefully) beyond. It’s good to watch The Brandons doing their thing again and the rest of the team is following along. Today was a tough one, but you can’t win all 162. Get some sleep, if the young ‘uns will let you, and get after it again tomorrow.

Team Brandon all the way! The “Crawnick” combo has been looking amazing too! Fun to watch! I’ve been wearing my Crawford Jersey for good luck in April and last few days. Couldn’t watch today! Could it be the jersey?!?!

Keep up the great work Brandon!!! Always fun to watch you guys and can’t wait to see what the rest of the season has in store!!! Also, love seeing Jalynne’s posts on Instagram of your girls – they are adorable and growing up so fast.🙂 thanks for posting!

Yep, total ebb and flow to baseball, but sometimes things come under the magnifying glass. ‘Glad you guys take it in stride. Your offense is looking great. Your defense always rocks. Again, know it’s just a matter of time before you have a Gold Glove. And B’Belt does look great! It’s really cool when, as Bochy said last year, the line keeps moving and everybody (or most) are hitting. “You can’t win them all” is cliche, but true. Even an ebb and flow between players and, like you guys always say, other guys step up when some guys hit a bump in the road… that’s what’s so great about team sports. We’re here backing you guys all the way through September…. and October! :o)

PS: You guys should put your updated pics under “About The Authors.” This year’s new pics look great.

You’re definitely the best shortstop ever, BC, but you’re also a GIANT clutch hitter. Hang in there……hope you realize how many fans you have!

Thanks for sharing your story of adjustment Brandon. We hear that a lot in baseball, but never hear all the details of what goes on in this back and forth battle between a hitter and the league.

I believe in your skills as a hitter, and a recent analysis showed that you have had a lot of bad luck this season, that you could have a much higher batting average than you do right now (http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/new-hitter-xbabip-based-on-bis-batted-ball-data/#comment-898739), based on your batted balls breakdown. So balls should start falling in more for you going forward.

Another analysis I found interesting was that when one looks at homeruns hit off 95+ MPH pitches, you were among the leaders on the Giants. Pence, Posey, and Belt were on the list as well, making our team that much better when the fire-breathing high-heat relievers come in late in games. This suggests that if you can learn to handle the off-speed pitches well, you have the bat speed to catch up when a fastball comes in instead.

And I’ve looked at both your and Belt’s L/R splits through the minors up to the majors. Both of you have always hit LHP relatively well, with minimal reduction in batting relative to RHP, and if anything, hit LHP better. Perhaps you should think about having a RHP throw a variety of pitches to you for practice, as well as batting against Chop. Maybe alternate every other time?

But I quibble. I would hate to think where we would be right now without your great hitting in April. Keep up the good work!

Hello Brandon! As I told the other Brandon, I’m always and will always be a big fan of team Brandon and the Giants, through the good and rough parts! Good thing you gave Brandon a pep talk, he probably needed some encouragement 😉. man just like I keep saying and posting on FB and Twitter, you’re defense is UNBELIEVABLE and you totally deserve a damn Gold Glove! And I’m not just saying that because I’m a huge Giants fan. You really deserve it. You make all the difficult plays look so freakin easy!! I don’t play any sports and I’m not athletic at all but watching you play on defense (and offense) makes me wanna play baseball haha
Anyways, love watching you and the rest of the team play! Go Giants! I’ll be at the game tomorrow and Saturday cheering you all on. 😀

PS Your daughters are getting big and super adorable! Love the World Series rings pic, now you gotta win another one so Jalynne can wear one too haha

Thanks Brandon for the post, you guys are awesome… Keep up the good work…
Go Giants!!!!

i share my birthday with willie mays, so it is kismet that i am a rabid giants fan. the last home stand against the west coasters was so fun. must have felt great ! did to me, but i am a giant for life, up or down, so……great playing, and ” go giants “. SS seems to be my favorite position ( i will make you a gold glove if you don’t get one soon ! ), and you and panik have been so fun to watch. still wear my old ” snow ” jersey…..like you all so much, could never pick just one now !

Always interesting to hear from you and get your perspective on how things are going, how you handle the everyday ups and downs of being in the game. Real fans know you can’t be perfect every day and don’t desert the team going through rough spots as every team and player will. We were at the game last Saturday for my daughter’s 40th birthday. We also brought a friend who had never been to the park before so it was lots of fun showing her our beautiful park. She loved the Coke bottle since she collects Coke memorabilia. Loved the win as well. Anyway we know you do your best to be your best daily. I really felt for you yesterday after your strike outs. It’s got to be a long walk back to the dugout. Go Giants and go team Brandon!

Fascinating to hear about how you’ve adjusted this year and the hard work of guys like Chad Chop who support the team behind the scene.
Great job this year with the bat. Your hard work is paying off and it’s great to see the improvement.
Good luck with the upcoming road trip! Go Giants!!!

Hi Brandon, I saw something about being better in baseball I wanted to share with you. It is not a crackpot science website, it is a legit website, citing legit research by U.C. Riverside (not far from your alma mater, UCLA). They did some sort of study of how to improve a hitter’s eyesight using some sort of visual training program, used to improve your ability to tell contrast. Seems like a miracle, but not only does it improve your ability to see farther away objects, but it helped with peripheral and low light vision, which would help with hitting in night games, I assume. Please have your training staff check this out, maybe it can help some of our hitters: http://www.livescience.com/50835-brain-training-improves-vision.html

I’m also posting this on Belt’s post, just to be sure one of you catch this.

Thanks again for taking the time to give us all some real “insight”. Love reading these blogs. But more than that I love watching you out there at short — You make it look easy, and that is difficult. I know you work so hard to hone your skills, and believe me, that hard work does not go unnoticed.

Brandon! Through rough and smooth I will always support you guys. I love the way you always look out for each other and have each other’s back. I’ve been a fan for a very long time and the bond you guys have is a very special one. I know you have it in you to be a very good hitter. I remember back in 2011 when once again the team hit a collective slump that just wouldn’t stop. I was impressed by your at bats. You would work counts, showed patience at the plate and had a very good sense of the strike zone and I remember thinking that with that patience and knowledge of the strike zone you would hit even if you weren’t necessarily doing it quite at that moment. Nobody was at that point of the season. I write this after you guys have taken 3 of 4 from the Reds in Cincy and a day after your Grand Slam and 6 RBI night. It was wonderful. Just keep playing with that passion and pride that I love about you guys!

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