Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"You Don't Have Enough Talent To Win On Talent Alone"

One of my personal favorite coaches in any sport will always by the late Herb Brooks. His motivational methods to make the 1980 USA Hockey team believe they could beat the unstoppable USSR are legendary. Joe Maddon gets a lot of credit for his tools and saying, and I will confidently say that Herb Brooks was Joe Maddon on steroids.

Herb Brooks had one line that he used often to tell his players they need to continue to learn, continue to learn, and continue to work. Joe Maddon needs to say this to David Price and he needs to say it before his next start.

"Gentlemen, you think you can win on talent alone? You don't have enough talent to win on talent alone."

You standard reaction when hearing this is going to be, "huh?" David Price has all the talent in the world, but in the Major Leagues, you need more than talent. You also need to use your brain. I think last night's game goes to show that David Price cannot dominate the Major Leagues like he did every other league in his life with just his fastball.

David Price had a rude awakening last night. Let's be honest here, he got rocked. Giving an opponent a 6-spot in the top of the first will usually lead to a loss, or in this case a really ugly loss. Price's final line last night was 10 runs allowed, including 2 homeruns, on 7 hits in 4.1 innings. Sure, he had little help from the defense, with errors from 3 gold-glove candidates (Longoria, Pena, and Upton), but this game was over before the 2 of those errors occurred.

Price served up some pitches that may as well have been on a tee for the World Champion Cheaters, err, Phillies. His miscues started with his slider. The slider was just off. It wasn't breaking enough and the pitch was coming in to batters too high. Those meatballs must have looked like basketballs to Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, who both rocked doubles. Then, his confidence looked shot as 3 batters later, John Mayberry rocked a homerun into the leftfield bleachers. This is where the mental preparation comes in that David Price hasn't needed in the past. This is where he can't just get by on talent alone.

David Price needs to learn to mix up his pitch locations and to keep confidence in himself. He wasn't going inside to Chase Utley or changing the eye level of Ryan Howard. These pitches may have worked on the Isotopes, but they aren't going to work on the Phillies. Then, once he gives up a few early runs, Price needs to settle down and realize that a powerful Rays' offense can overcome a 3 run deficit.

It is time for David Price to spend more time on scouting reports and on confidence in his pitches. Once David Price learns that NO ONE in the Major Leagues has enough talent to win on talent alone, he will be the stud that everyone expects him to be. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out.

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