Monday, October 19, 2009

Batting Practice

  • Phillies 11-Dodgers 0:

I missed Treehouse of Horror 20 on The Simpsons for that?

A bit of fictional comedy to lighten the mood from the Prince follows:

Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt visits the mound during starter Hiroki Kuroda's hellish first inning to calm his pitcher. Before even addressing Kuroda, he turns to catcher Russell Martin and begins the dialogue:

Honeycutt: So, aside from almost killing the entire defense with missiles, how's he throwing?

Martin: How do I know? I haven't caught one yet. I'll keep you posted.

It was that kind of night for the Dodgers. The game was over before it began as Kuroda was horrendous. It's rare that you see big league hitters square a pitcher----especially a pitcher who's pretty good----to that degree, but it happened. The Phillies lineup can crush, but last night was on a level with batting practice. You cannot fall behind a pitcher as hot as Cliff Lee's been this post-season and expect a different result from the 11-0 pasting. Had the Dodgers kept the game close, there was more of a chance to get to Lee, but the immediate deficit ended this game by the fourth inning even in the bandbox of Citizens Bank Park.

The broadcasters told a story (can't remember if it was Count Fistula aka Chip Carey; or Buck Martinez) in which the Phillies basically said that even if Kuroda looked good in a simulated game in Arizona on the way back to the big leagues after his neck problem, pitching well in Arizona wasn't the same as pitching against the Phillies. That kind of arrogance is painfully obnoxious to start with; it's even worse when it's true.

Accept the beating and turn the page is my advice, and I guarantee Joe Torre told his team the same thing.

  • A note about Redskins coach (for now) Jim Zorn:

Just fire the guy.

Not only is he being roasted over the coals and hung out to dry simultaneously, but he's being humiliated as well. The Redskins front office has stripped Zorn----the head coach!----of his play-calling duties. Along with relieving him of said duties, they also relieved him of his balls in the organization and around the league. Is is necessary to emasculate the man? Firing him is more humane. At least it's final. This is a sports version of torture and it's cruel.

  • Viewer Mail 10.19.2009:

Lots of viewer mail today, which is a good sign; and not one has stated their desire to strangle me...yet. But it's early.

Jeff at Red State Blue State writes RE Yankees-Angels:

2009 ALCS Game 2 was an instant classic. I watched this game at a bar with about 200 like-minded, non-Yankee/Angel invested drunkards and you woulda thought we were watching USA v. the SOVIETS the way we were hootin' and hollerin'. Wish they were all that grand.

I should also mention that I wasn't pleased with the result, which is probably why I woke up this morning with a raging headache.

Was the result the genesis of the headache or was it the copious consumption of said beverages? I'm dubious.

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE ARod:

I liked your analysis of A-Rod's at bat against Fuentes. I kept saying, "They're trying to jam him so he can't extend his arms." And then he managed to hit that homer. I agree he would have been out if he'd gotten a slider in the dirt. I also think the Angels' bats aren't going to remain dormant forever. This isn't over by any means. But winning two at home was sweet.

I'd suspect that teams have begun (or have long been) extending the scouting of ARod to the traps he's obviously setting. It just so happened that Brian Fuentes and the Angels walked right into it----and they're smart, which makes it worse. If Fuentes wanted to move ARod off the plate, he had to fire the ball Roger Clemens-like right at his coconut without remorse. Then go with the slider in the dirt. He just made a mistake with pitch selection, location or both and it cost him.

Kyle Johnson writes RE Vladimir Guerrero:

I thought that Vlad Guerrero was going to have a huge turnaround in this series. That the game winning two RBI single was going to give him confidence and a sense of purpose. Any chances that he'll turn things around in this series, or am I destined to watch him leave the bases loaded more times than I can stomach?

Guerrero is unlike any hitter I've ever seen. He swings at anything and everything, but doesn't strike out; he rarely walks unintentionally, but still manages a high on base percentage; and he'll look hideous for 20 straight at bats, then hit a ball that was either over his head or was ready to bounce in the dirt 400 feet out of the park. He's murdered Andy Pettitte in his career; if he's going to get healthy, it'll start today.

I wouldn't count him out just yet. If the Angels can get this back to New York, Guerrero will be right in the middle of things. Once games 6 and 7 start, Guerrero's the guy for the Yankees to worry about. They know it and will continue to tread carefully around him. The problem is that they can't pitch him carefully because he swings----and hits----anything anywhere. He's still dangerous and can rise to the occasion at any time. Have faith.

Matt at Diamondhacks writes:

The Angels dont quit and I agree with your Saturday conclusions: on Aybar, Girardi, scoring against NY's second tier, etc. Only quibble is that Fuentes' pitch to Arod was out, not in, altho Arod inside-outed it as you suggested. I forget where the catcher setup, but it was way too good a pitch on 0-2. To that guy, anyway.

I looked at the video of ARod's homer and it looked slightly inside to me, but you might be right. I don't think it was necessarily a bad pitch; not many hitters would've had the presence of mind to anticipate it and execute such a plan on 0-2; had Fuentes thrown a slider, ARod couldn't have done anything but hope to get a piece of it and stay alive in the at bat.

It's clear that ARod's on another level from almost anyone else aside from the usual suspects like Albert Pujols and Joe Mauer. In fact, since the pitch was more out over the plate than I thought, it becomes even more impressive that ARod collapsed his forearms: A) intentionally; and B) still had the power to get the ball out of the park to the opposite field.

John Seal writes:

Interesting points about Girardi's over-managing in Game 2. In addition to the examples cited, how about pinch-running Brett Gardner for Nick Swisher? Has Swisher become a terrible baserunner since the A's traded him? And is Gardner's speed sufficient reason to take Swisher's superb batting eye out of the lineup?

I thought the Gardner for Swisher move was smart on several levels. Gardner is, I think, the fastest guy in baseball next to the sprinter's speed of the Pirates Andrew McCutchen (that guy's speed is insane); Gardner could've stolen second and immediately been in scoring position (in fact, he should've taken off on one of the first two pitches to Robinson Cano). Gardner's a major distraction to the pitcher as well, which could lead to a mistake to the hitter. You're also improving the defense from Swisher's shakiness. I had no problem with that decision from Girardi. You have an argument for leaving Swisher in, but considering Girardi's other screw-ups, the Gardner/Swisher decision was something that made sense at least.


She-Fan said...

Count Fistula. LOL!

Jeff said...

Do you ever get the sense that guys like Jeter, Posada, Rodriguez -- really intelligent baseball minds -- are seriously second-guessing their half wit manager's moves? I can just imagine what was going through Jeter's head when Girardi brought in Aceves there at the end.