Michael McKenry On Polanco: "He's In His Own Head"

The former Pirates catcher breaks down what's going on with the right fielder

The Fan Morning Show
May 25, 2018 - 12:01 pm
Gregory Polanco

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Former Pirates catcher now Pirates analyst for AT&T Sports Net Michael McKenry joined The Fan Morning Show on Friday to talk about the struggles of both Gregory Polanco and Ivan Nova lately.

He believes that both players have not been sharp mentally and may need some time to just re-focus. He started with Polanco.

"I think he's in his own head, to be honest," said McKenry. "I think he's probably listening to the media, listening to the radio, TV and trying to put the weight of the world on his shoulders. I think the biggest thing for him is to get out of his own way and look for the pitches he can hit."

"He really handles the ball out away from him. He's been like that since he got called up, that's how you pitched him. You pounded him inside, try to get him to chase up in the zone, especially close to him. He could not handle those pitches. But he keeps swinging at them. I think it boils down to him trying to do too much, thinking too much and swinging at pitches he can't handle."

He also commented on the hot start of Austin Meadows and how impressed he is with what he's seen from him at the Major League level.

"He's kind of the opposite of Polanco, he handles the ball close to him really well," said McKenry. "He handles the low ball really well, if you've seen the homers that he's hit, they're line drives. He's taking close pitches...he does it kind of in the old-fashioned way. He doesn't do it with this grunt-and-fart-type swing, he keeps it short, keeps the barrel on the ball. Kind of reminds me of Chipper Jones."

McKenry did a great job in breaking down a hitter's mentality against a pitcher like Nova who throws 75% fastballs and how Nova needs to adjust and re-evaluate things in order to improve.

"He needs to just think about, 'OK, why am I getting hit, how many two-strike hits am I giving up?' Which he's give up a lot, the whole staff has," said McKenry. "I think he can also look at, 'How can I be more deceptive? How can I kind of mess with these guys' timing in the sense of maybe I do a quick pitch out of the wind-up. Maybe I'll hold longer out of the stretch, just to mess with these guys so I can create more havoc on the mound and get more outs.'"

You can hear the entire interview with "The Fort" Michael McKenry on The Fan Morning Show below.



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