Nate Silver has written about how hitters commonly take more pitches as they get older, not because batting eyes improve with age, but because there are more and more pitches the hitters realize they can't handle. Rather than flail away, they simply keep the bats on their shoulders and hope for the best.
I have been wondering if that's also the case with tired hitters as well; Derrek Lee is the tired-looking hitter I have in mind.
Lee has played in all but two innings of the Cubs' last 22 games, a period during which the team enjoyed only one day off. It occurred to me that he was dragging a bit during last weekend's series in Denver, keeping the bat on his shoulder even on hitter's counts and generally not contributing much to the offense. It really occurred to me today, when Lee went 0-for-5 while Theriot, DeRosa, Ramirez, Murton, and Jones were going a combined 18-for-24 with 10 RBI and 9 runs scored in the Cubs' 12-4 undressing of the Reds.
I can't say I've actually done the math to confirm Derrek is watching more pitches and maybe it's not worth worrying about anyway: with Soriano out and Ramirez missing from the Cub lineup until earlier this week, Lou Piniella couldn't afford to keep Lee next to him on the bench. And with the Cardinals coming to town Friday, there wouldn't seem to be any chance of Lee sitting until at least next Tuesday, when the Cubs are done with the Cards and off to the West Coast.