‘I’m enjoying the climb’ – The Mercury News

‘I’m enjoying the climb’ – The Mercury News

All of Pedro Grifol’s previous roles in baseball — from scouting to serving as a bench coach — have come in handy during his first season as a big-league manager with the Chicago White Sox.

“Every single job,” Grifol said in the visiting manager’s room at Yankee Stadium before Tuesday’s game against the New York Yankees. “All the way from my area scouting, when you have to learn how to evaluate, to advance scouting to international, every single job I’ve had has served a (purpose).”

He recalled a conversation he had Monday with bench coach Charlie Montoyo about winter ball.

“I managed four years of winter ball — it’s a tough environment to manage in,” Grifol said. “I was managing guys who were older than me and that taught me a ton. Just the day-to-day stuff that you had to take care of and worry about. Every job has been really important for this.”

Just more than 60 games into his big-league managerial career, Grifol said he hasn’t been surprised by much. Part of it comes from what he learned in all those previous roles. And also his coaching staff.

“I have a good staff, man. I think the staff is really important,” Grifol said. “They have experience, they’ve been in the big leagues a long time. The versatility of this staff, the wisdom and experience they have.”

The job right now for Grifol and the coaching staff is to try to dig out from a rough start. The Sox were 19-14 entering Tuesday since beginning the season 7-21.

“I’m enjoying the climb,” he said when asked if he’s still enjoying the job. “Obviously I did not enjoy at all the 10-game losing streak. I didn’t enjoy 7-21. Did not enjoy that.

“But I’m enjoying getting better and playing better. I’m enjoying getting better all the way round: the team, myself, the staff.”

Grifol knows improvements are needed offensively, defensively and with the pitching staff if the Sox are going to climb in the American League Central standings.

Offensively, the Sox are working on chasing fewer pitches. The team’s O-swing% (swings at pitches outside the zone), according to FanGraphs, is 36.7%, the worst in the majors.

“We’ve got to get better,” Grifol said. “And it’s not just to win games, it’s to maximize their ability. We have a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball and if we swing at good pitches, we’re going to do some damage. So we have to get better at not chasing.

“We’re constantly searching for that. They’re searching for it; we are too. We’re searching for it together.”

Grifol likes how the pitching has progressed, “however, there’s times we’ve got to get better when we’re way ahead in the count. 0-2, 1-2, you almost can’t allow slugging in those counts. You fight to get to 0–2, 1-2, you’ve got to put guys away. But we’re better at it. The pitching has improved big time.”

The team had a 5.88 ERA through 28 games and a 3.80 ERA in the next 33 games.

Defensively, Grifol wants to see the Sox improve at “preventing free bases at 90 feet. Stolen base, we’ve got to get better at holding, eliminating attempts.”

The league average for caught stealing is 21%, while the Sox are at 17%.

All of those — and more — are areas the Sox are focused on. Despite the early stumbles, the Sox (26-35) entered Tuesday 5½ games out of first place in the AL Central.

While the aim is the division, the focus is on the day to day. But Grifol did note that the new schedule has created an interesting wrinkle.

“There’s no sample on this new schedule, like how does this thing work,” Grifol said. “Everybody is playing everybody. So as far as who’s in, who’s out, I think we’re going to see some things a little different than we have in the past. How different I don’t know.

“But the new schedule is going to play a new factor somewhere. Because everybody is playing everybody. You can’t say these guys have a tough schedule or a tough month. Everybody is going to have that month. That’s another reason I don’t get too far ahead on this stuff.”


Soruce : https://www.mercurynews.com/2023/06/06/pedro-grifol-assesses-his-1st-season-after-passing-the-60-game-mark-as-chicago-white-sox-manager-im-enjoying-the-climb/

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