Why the Red Sox, not the Astros, should fear the Green Monster

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Gerrit Cole was eager to pitch opening day for the Pirates in 2017. It was an honor. Plus he looked forward to being on the road at Fenway Park.

The biggest attraction to Cole: The Green Monster.

“The last time I was there, I was in college, and nobody could hit it over the Monster,” Cole told Triblive.com. “I’m in the big leagues now, so I’m pretty sure it’s easy for guys to hit it over. I’m excited to go inside it again.”

It was no monster at all, but a charming treasure of the sport to a baseball fanatic like Cole.

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For most of the 20th century, Fenway Park’s Green Monster loomed as an irritant to pitchers. The sight of fly balls pelting the wall and ricocheting for hits inspired concerns that righthanded batters in particular might develop a reliable strategy.

Those sound like old wives’ tales now. The modern pitcher does not factor ballpark dimensions into his game plan. Data-driven preparation contours scouting reports to reveal the most effective pitches and vulnerable locations of each hitter.

The towering green mass truncating left field is a novelty more than a part of Boston’s home-field advantage. The way the Astros pitchers see it, if they execute their attack, they should not allow any balls struck hard or far to left field anyway.

 “Today’s day of all the information that we have, they’re not going to pitch away from anything,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.

Hinch asserted that the Astros distinctly have no reason to fret because of the dimensions they are used to navigating at Minute Maid Park. The Green Monster is 310 feet from home plate, whereas the left field wall in front of the Crawford Boxes is 315 feet away. Boston’s left field wall is 37.2 feet tall and Houston’s is 19 feet.

“These guys pitch with, like, the Green Monster cut in half,” Hinch said of his staff. “You pitch to their weakness and to your strength, and where you get your outs, not necessarily trying to avoid a hit off the wall.”

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If anything Boston has more reason to worry about surrendering hits against its high-reaching target. This season, including the playoffs, Red Sox pitchers allowed righthanded batters to pull 166 balls 310 feet or farther.

Conversely, Houston’s hitters pulled 239 balls 310 feet or farther, whereas Boston’s pulled 181.

Source : https://www.chron.com/sports/astros/article/Why-Red-Sox-not-Astros-fear-Green-Monster-ALCS-13302171.php