Walk this wayConspiracies don't bother Bill Do Pats fans deserve an explanation?

864827.jpg

Walk this wayConspiracies don't bother Bill Do Pats fans deserve an explanation?

This just in: The Red Sox have a discipline problem.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. But I'm not talking about in the clubhouse, on the team plane, on the golf course or with the media. I'm talking in the batter's box here. I'm talking walks and on base percentage. The kind of stuff that makes Bill James feel all naughty and tingly inside.

Discipline at the plate.

At various points this season, Bobby Valentine, Ben Cherington and Dave Magadan have all occasionally voiced their displeasure with the Sox impatience in the box.

"Hughes pitched up in the strike zone, and we couldn't lay off of it," Valentine said after a loss to the Yankees last week. "We made a lot of quick outs, swinging at some of those pitches. And, maybe a little immature in our approach at times."

"There's a lot of inconsistency," Magadan said last month. "A lot of it -- and I know I've harped on this a lot this year -- is the approach at the plate. You're not going to bang out 15 hits every night. You've got to find ways to get on base, work a count, get a guy's pitch count up."

In an interview with WEEI after the Adrian Gonzalez trade, Cherington touched on the same issues: "Our best teams have been disciplined teams," he said. "We've grinded at-bats, we've made pitchers work, we've thrown strikes, we've played good fundamental baseball"

Speaking of grinding, the 2012 season is thankfully and finally grinding to halt, and with that the Sox historic impatience is now more clear than ever.

First of all, David Ortiz is pretty much guaranteed to end the season as Boston's team leader in walks with 56. This, despite having only played 90 games and sitting out the last two months of the season.

The last time a Sox player led the team with fewer than 56 walks? That would be 1930, when infielder Bobby Reeves was the leader with 50. (They had a player with more than 56 walks in the both the strike shortened seasons of 1981 and 1994).

But maybe that stat is a little skewed. After all, Boston did suffer an astounding number of injuries this season. They have a ton of guys who have missed a ton of games, which might explain why the individual totals are so sad. But that being said, their team total is just as horrendous.

As of today, the Sox have drawn a total of 400 walks through 149 games. That puts them on pace for 435 walks on the season. And that would be their lowest total since 1931 back in the days little Bobby Reeves was king.

So, there you have it. That's not to say that finding guys who are willing and able to grind out at-bats and get on base is the No. 1 priority for the Sox this offseason, but you can be damn sure it's on the list.

Here's hoping Ben come through, and Bill James can once again watch the Sox with that same naughty tingle.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched

baseballshowpod_pedro.png

Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched

CSN baseball analyst Lou Merloni sits down with Pedro Martinez and Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis to discuss one of Pedro's greatest games. 

SUBSCRIBE Audioboom | iTunes | Stitcher | Spotify

On September 10, 1999 at the height of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry, Pedro Martinez struck out 17 Yankees in a complete game victory, with the only hit he allowed being a home run to Chili Davis. The two men recall that memorable night in the Bronx, and discuss the state of pitching in 2017.

MLB players' union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

MLB players' union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

NEW YORK - There won't be any wild pitches on intentional walks this season.

The players' association has agreed to Major League Baseball's proposal to have intentional walks without pitches this year.

"It doesn't seem like that big of a deal. I know they're trying to cut out some of the fat. I'm OK with that," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.

While the union has resisted many of MLB's proposed innovations, such as raising the bottom of the strike zone, installing pitch clocks and limiting trips to the mound, players are willing to accept the intentional walk change.

"As part of a broader discussion with other moving pieces, the answer is yes," union head Tony Clark wrote Wednesday in an email to The Associated Press. "There are details, as part of that discussion, that are still being worked through, however."

The union's decision was first reported by ESPN .

"I'm OK with it. You signal. I don't think that's a big deal," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "For the most part, it's not changing the strategy, it's just kind of speeding things up. I'm good with it."

There were 932 intentional walks last year, including 600 in the National League, where batters are walked to bring the pitcher's slot to the plate.

"You don't want to get your pitcher out of a rhythm, and when you do the intentional walk, I think you can take a pitcher out of his rhythm," Girardi said. "I've often wondered why you don't bring in your shortstop and the pitcher stand at short. Let the shortstop walk him. They're used to playing catch more like that than a pitcher is."

Agreement with the union is required for playing rules changes unless MLB gives one year advance notice, in which case it can unilaterally make alterations. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope Tuesday that ongoing talks would lead to an agreement on other changes but also said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Some changes with video review can be made unilaterally, such as shortening the time to make a challenge.

"I know they were thinking about putting in a 30-second (limit) for managers to make a decision," Francona said. "I actually wish they would. I think it would hustle it up and if we can't tell in 30 seconds, maybe we shouldn't be doing it anyway."