BOSTON -- The Cardinals did what they could on Tuesday to prepare for the defensive challenges of Fenway Park's Green Monster. But the unique structure also has a way of playing with the minds -- and approaches -- of hitters.
Fenway Park's left-field wall, though it stands approximately 37 feet tall, is both parts imposing and attractive to hitters. Its height restricts line-drive home runs, but its proximity to home plate can also make it an appealing target. Down the left-field line, the Green Monster sits only 310 feet away from home. Some hitters have seen that as an invitation to try to direct balls toward left field.
That can be a detriment if it takes them away from a more natural approach, though manager Mike Matheny countered that it can also be worth aiming for if it plays into a batter's strength.
"I think there have been enough people who change their approach and have success," Matheny said. "When you look at some of the things that they do, even spray charts, this team, they approach their at-bats different at home than they do away. I think you go with your own strength first. You don't try to make something out of nothing, but if you have an opportunity, take advantage of it."
For those Cardinals hitters who are first-time visitors to Fenway Park, they had two sessions of batting practice to test their swings against the dimensions.
"We've gotten to this point as an offense just doing what we do and focusing on our approach and grinding out at-bats," said Allen Craig, who returned to the lineup on Wednesday after a seven-week layoff. "The Green Monster is what it is. It's out there. It can work in your benefit in some circumstances, but it's not something we're going to try to take advantage of, I think."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less