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Bobby Valentine: Red Sox pitchers don’t need no stinkin’ slide-step

03.17.12 at 11:15 am ET
By

Bobby Valentine. (AP)

The hitter has always been the priority in Red Sox land, at least that’s what Bobby Valentine had heard. Well, according to the manager, times (holding the ball, to home plate, etc.) might be changing (at least a little).

“I hear — and this might be real wrong — I hear there were a couple of pitching coaches here who said it didn’t matter,” Valentine told reporters prior to his team’s game against the Orioles Saturday, regarding prioritizing holding baserunners. “They just got away from doing it. I understand. I told you guys: I played with Nolan Ryan. I coached Dwight Gooden. I coached Tom Seaver. No one was ever more staunch advocates of ‘Who gives a [expletive] if they get to second base?’ It was in a different era. If you can keep them on first and get a double play, a lot of times, that means a whole another inning. It means an entire other inning that starter could pitch. If he goes to second and you get the next three guys out and you use your arsenal, a lot of times, that’s your last inning. That’s a big difference in today’s game.”

So, does that mean we will be entering the world of the slide-step?

“A slide-step stinks,” Valentine said.

Earlier in the conversation, the manager explained his philosophy regarding holding runners without sacrificing getting the hitter out.

“I’ll never say, ‘Don’t throw your best pitch.’ I got away from that one with Jose Guzman in 1986. He gave up a home run in spring training because of a slide-step or whatever that thing is. I don’t believe in slide-step,” Valentine said. “Controlling the runner is a program that you have, built in, to vary your cadence and not say, ‘I don’t give a [expletive] if you steal the base.’ That’s all it is. It doesn’t mean you have to be 1.1 to the plate. It doesn’t mean you have to have a great pickoff move. It just means that you have a program and we have all this time to work on it and all the time you lay in bed thinking about it and all the time you’re by yourself in the clubhouse where you can control it.”

“I’ve seen Josh [Beckett] do it here. Josh has had about four very good guys on base. Jon [Lester] is getting there. Clay [Buchholz] has a real quick move coming up. On the way up, he’s quick, sometimes sets quick, and those times that he has used the package to change his cadence, he’s been excellent. I don’t want that to ever take away what he’s doing to the hitter.”

In case you were wondering, the Red Sox have led the majors in stolen bases against in each of the past three seasons.

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