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Could Gerald Laird be the difference?

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Could it be that Gerald Laird is the difference in the Tiger's outstanding pitching? It just seemed to me last year that the pitching staff did not get along with Pudge and vice-versa.

Could it be Laird or new pitching coach Rick Knapp? Or could it be the combination of the two? What do you think?

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He definitely has to be a part of the turnaround, but the credit remains solely on the men who deliver pitches from the mound to him.

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I think Laird does get part of the Credit. He also has been good at throwing runners out at 2nd. I also think Knapp has a ton to do with it!

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Although I think Pineapple has caught Verlander better than Laird, he still has SOMETHING to do with the sucess of the rest of the staff. But the lion's share of the credit still goes to Knapp.

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He definitely has to be a part of the turnaround, but the credit remains solely on the men who deliver pitches from the mound to him.

Interesting logic

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I'd say it's a combination of factors, although I don't have the foggiest idea what percentage to attribute to each factor.

But I think Laird deserves at least SOME of the credit. Wasn't Pudge terrible when it came to things like pitch-calling? I thought I recalled hearing/reading that somewhere.

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During spring training in 1961, Dodgers catcher Norm Sherry had a heart-to-heart talk with his pitcher, an inconsistent lefty named Sandy Koufax. Sherry told him to stop trying to throw the ball as hard as he could on every pitch. "You can get people out without throwing as hard as you can," Sherry told his battery mate.

The rest is history.

So I think sometimes catchers do have a huge impact, although there's simply no way to quantify it.

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Could it be that Gerald Laird is the difference in the Tiger's outstanding pitching? It just seemed to me last year that the pitching staff did not get along with Pudge and vice-versa.

Could it be Laird or new pitching coach Rick Knapp? Or could it be the combination of the two? What do you think?

The biggest improvement comes from changes in personnel on the pitching staff.

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The biggest improvement comes from changes in personnel on the pitching staff.

True although some of the personnel remain intact yet improved. Example: Verlander

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Interesting logic

My point was intended to be simple because I think the answer is quite simple. Sometimes, I think we go out of our way to explain our come up with something that may explain someone's prolonged success or an instant turnaround. In this case, Verlander, Porcello, and Jackson's success is solely on them. If it was Laird or Knapp, then how could we explain Armando, Miner, Seay, Lyon, etc..

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The biggest improvement comes from changes in personnel on the pitching staff.

There's little question this is true. Add a hugely-improved Jackson and Verlander, and Rick Porcello, and you've got the ingredients for an improved staff.

But it also may be the case that Laird is better at framing pitches, pitch-calling, etc. than Pudge was. And if the pitchers feel more comfy throwing to him, it may be reflected in the final results.

Still, you're right: The lion's share of the credit would have to go to the men on the mound.

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This made me lol!

More great insight from you. If something makes you "lol" and you must write about it, you need to reevaluate how far you may or may not have come in life. Grow up.

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More great insight from you. Grow up.

As if your insight that the credit for pitchers improvement goes to the guy throwing from the mound to him was way better. I was just letting a fellow board member know his comment was funny.

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True although some of the personnel remain intact yet improved. Example: Verlander
Knapp has definitely helped him. I credit Rodney's improvement to pending FA.

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My point was intended to be simple because I think the answer is quite simple. Sometimes, I think we go out of our way to explain our come up with something that may explain someone's prolonged success or an instant turnaround. In this case, Verlander, Porcello, and Jackson's success is solely on them. If it was Laird or Knapp, then how could we explain Armando, Miner, Seay, Lyon, etc..

I was just commenting on the fact that your post was a little contradictory insofar as you said both:

a) Laird has to get some of the credit; and

b) all of the credit has to go to the pitchers.

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I give no credit to Laird. I would agree that he is probably easier to deal with than Pudge, so perhaps there is some addition by subtraction going on. But I don't think Laird has a special skill wherein he deserves credit. I don't think he adds much more to the pitchers than any league average catcher would.

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It's really, really hard to quantify how catchers affect a pitching staff. If the pitchers say they like throwing to the guy, I guess they would know. Sometimes, all it takes is a good working relationship to improve performance.

I'm still giving most of the credit to Knapp. The vast improvements in consistency from start to start from Jackson and Verlander, as well as consistency from Rodney, has completely transformed this ballclub.

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It's really, really hard to quantify how catchers affect a pitching staff. If the pitchers say they like throwing to the guy, I guess they would know. Sometimes, all it takes is a good working relationship to improve performance.

I'm still giving most of the credit to Knapp. The vast improvements in consistency from start to start from Jackson and Verlander, as well as consistency from Rodney, has completely transformed this ballclub.

I'd call it very hard to quantify (Texas pitchers haven't been that good over the past few years)... but game calling is a skill that all major league catchers should have if they don't have it already. I suspect if you don't have the ability to call a game you won't be a major league catcher for very long.

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I'd call it very hard to quantify (Texas pitchers haven't been that good over the past few years)... but game calling is a skill that all major league catchers should have if they don't have it already. I suspect if you don't have the ability to call a game you won't be a major league catcher for very long.

Oh no doubt. I'm not discounting the ability of a catcher to make pitchers better at all. I just think that, unfortunately, you won't ever be able to come up with a stat to prove it (and they've tried). I think it basically comes down to getting someone who can develop a good working relationship with the staff, that makes them feel comfortable in the pitch selection and the other aspects. You'd be surprised at how much of a difference that would make.

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Knapp has definitely helped him. I credit Rodney's improvement to pending FA.

I credit it to health.

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One noticeable difference is that Laird calls for the high fastball with two strikes. Pudge rarely did it and was obsessed with calling breaking balls. Of course, one of Pudge's biggest weaknesses as a hitter was chasing the 2 strike high fastball, so maybe he was just trying to keep his "secret." Then again, during Verlander's worst career start where he went 1.2 innings or whatever against the Yankees after the Pudge trade, even when Verlander didn't have anything, neither location nor stuff, he still struck Pudge out on three consecutive fastballs: down the middle, up high, and then up and out of the strikezone.

Yeah, I think Laird had something to do with the turnaround. I'm not going to appropriate a bunch of the credit to him, because I think the pitchers themselves and Knapp in that order take precedent, but I think he's more in tune with what sort of stuff a pitcher has on a particular day rather than going along with a script like Pudge seemed to do. Pudge didn't warm up the pitchers before a game, so it's really no surprise that he sometimes wasn't aware of what a guy had on a given day.

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I'd call it very hard to quantify (Texas pitchers haven't been that good over the past few years)... but game calling is a skill that all major league catchers should have if they don't have it already. I suspect if you don't have the ability to call a game you won't be a major league catcher for very long.

Right, but there are different levels of it, just as a hitter can hit .250 and another can hit .330. I think Laird calls a pretty good game. Obviously I have no evidence that isolates just his contribution to the performance, but I'd wager that he has some effect on it.

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