Merloni: Playoff layoff worse for hitters

Merloni: Playoff layoff worse for hitters
September 28, 2013, 1:00 am
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After 162 games, you'd think a little R&R would be a welcome respite. Lou Merloni, however, says too much of a good thing can be a very bad thing.

The Red Sox will have four days off before their first postseason game. For the pitchers, most of them will be pitching on five or six days of rest, which is not all that different from their normal routine. For the hitters, four days can wreak havoc on their timing at the plate.

Merloni recalls some recent examples.

"For the hitters, you take four days off of swinging a bat… look at the Detroit Tigers in [2006] and 2012; they won the ALCS in a four game sweep in each year, sat around for five days waiting for the World Series to start because the other series went seven, and their bats just never showed up."

Merloni says most hitters just want to keep rolling into the postseason, and need to take "baby steps" in that first game of the playoffs after a layoff. Hitters know they only have a handful of games before they could be sent home, so they tend to press at the plate if they go a game or two without a hit.