Third baseman Pablo Sandoval reveals the key to his successful pitching performance is not caring
Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval had himself quite a game Monday in his team's 12-4 loss to the Reds. He hit a home run and stole his first base since 2012. That alone would have been a good day at the ballpark for most, but for the Kung Fu Panda, it was just the beginning.
He took the mound in the eighth inning for just the second time in his career and threw a 10-pitch shutout inning. After holding the Dodgers scoreless in his first pitching appearance last April, he now has two innings of shutout, no-hit pitching on his career.
That's a pretty good line for a position player. What is Sandoval's secret? He must be putting in some work behind the scenes, right? Actually, it seems that the opposite is the case:
Pablo talks fast, that’s what I wrote down in my notebook in the clubhouse. But because this blew up and I want to be accurate, here’s the full quote: “Pitching is not easy, but it’s easy for me because I have fun with it. I don't care about the situation.”— Kerry Crowley (@KO_Crowley) May 6, 2019
Though Sandoval's response may have been partially in jest, it contains an important nugget of truth: When you try too hard at something, you can get in your own head and end up hurting your performance more than helping it. By being the epitome of relaxed and loose on the mound, he's now pitched two scoreless innings.
Let this serve as a lesson to everyone. Sometimes the best way to achieve success is just to care a little bit less.
Eric Chesterton is a writer for MLB.com. He is an appreciator of the stolen base, the bunt against the shift and nearly every unconventional uniform design. He eagerly awaits Jamie Moyer's inevitable comeback.