Thursday, 27 March 2014

Pitching (and Bitching) Part 1

>Real life encroached on blog life, explaining why I haven’t written in an age. I've returned to talk about the most joyful topic, the starting pitching for the 2014 Toronto Blue Jays.

The press surrounding the pitching situation has been sort of depressing. The pitching is a problem, yes, but the constant hand wringing is a bit tiresome. The team was over hyped
coming out of spring training in '13 and now the hype has gone in the other direction. Maybe we should just all let them play and see what happens. 

>Guys really know that this is a big year for us, collectively," R.A. Dickey said. "We're kind of getting a mulligan this year. Last year, a lot of things went wrong. This year, we're pretty much all healthy, we're here, we've been here all spring, we've been able to do relationship with one another and now we're in a much different place than we were last year, and it's a much more comfortable place."
The Ervin Santana saga was disappointing, but I'm not sure what else AA was supposed to do. The Jays made their offer, thought they had a verbal agreement, but apparently not as Santana signed with Atlanta two days later. Given that Santana signed with the Braves for only 100 grand more than the Jays offered and also spurned the Orioles, who offered even more money plus  incentives, it pretty much seems that Santana wasn't going to sign with an AL East team. The trick with free agents is that they are free….to do what they want. 

Ricky Romero had a couple of decent starts, getting people talking, and then had a bad one, getting people talking again, but louder and with more garment rending. Romero, along with Marcus Stroman, has been sent to the minor league camp.
>When asked whether the horrible start factored into the decision to have Romero start in Buffalo, Gibbons had this to say: “It didn't help But we just feel they both need more work. As far as Ricky moving in the right direction, we really like what he did in this camp. Just go down there [Triple-A Buffalo] and polish it up.” Romero is what he is. A few good starts in the spring weren't going to make him a serious contender for the rotation, just as a terrible start shouldn't officially write him off until the end of time. If he continues to do the positive work he demonstrated in Florida, Romero can still help the team out. It's a long season.
And then yesterday, five were finally named to the starting rotation:

>R.A. Dickey
>Drew Hutchison
Brandon Morrow
Dustin McGowan

Dickey went 14-13 last year after winning the N.L. Cy Young in 2012. The inconsistency was mostly due to soreness in the first half and also pitching in the Homer Dome. Dickey's spring has been a little rough. He was hit hard against the Yankees on March 26th, a game the Jays ended up winning despite it.

Today was not a day about results," Dickey said. "What was paramount for me was to exercise my arm in a way where I felt good. I was able to use a large range of velocities and I mixed in pitches that I would never throw during the regular season. They put in their heads it's another weapon that I might use on them later. So, I did exactly what I wanted to do."
Dickey's memoir Wherever I Wind Up has been optioned by TriStar Pictures and Buzz Bissinger, who wrote Friday Night Lights , about high school football in Texas, which was made into a movie and a tv show and Three Nights in August , about an August 2003 series between the Cubs and the Cardinals, is writing the script. That's pretty neat.

Mark Buehrle is the definition of a chucker. He is consistent and steady, and is all about pitching smartly. He’s not flashy, but he gets it done. Tightening up the defense, thus limiting the amount of pitches Buerhle needs to throw in an inning, should help his numbers over last year.  His last start, which happened on his 35th birthday, was pretty fantastic.

“I had a good rhythm, used a lot of fastballs early and was hitting my spot,” Buehrle said. “It seemed like everything was working.”

The past two starts had been vs minor league teams, and Buehrle appreciated facing big league hitters.

“The last two starts in the minor leagues you can roll over innings,” he said. “Here you can’t, something clicks about it. I can’t just get my ass handed to me in the first couple of batters and they’re not going to roll the inning over so you got to get out of it. Something clicks and you just figure it out.”

Buehrle pitches next in Montreal against the Mets. 

Pesky real life has prevented me from attending, but I hope those who are making the trip have a great time and those in Montreal who miss having big league baseball in their gorgeous city soak it up. 

Players  from the Expos ‘94 team, including Felipe Alou, Moises Alou, Larry Walker, Pedro Martinez(!!!!!), Rondell White, Cliff Floyd, Marquis Grissom, Sean Berry, Wil Cordero, John Wetteland, Darrin Fletcher, Lou Frazier, Gil Heredia, Ken Hill and Denis Boucher will be attending. 

Montreal was a very different experience for major-league baseball, wasn't it?
It had a certain something. I’m not going to lie, some of it was because of the strip clubs, maybe, or the great food. But much of it was the unique culture. You know, when you heard the public-address announcer say “le voltigeur de centre, the centre fielder, Andre Dawson” – that’s special. And they had to figure out a lot of these terms on the fly. Jacques Doucet, the play-by-play man, goes on the air and says, “We need a term for picking someone off first base.” This is a very complex idea to express and a professor came up with “prendre quelqu’un à contre-pied” – catch someone on their wrong foot.

1 comment:

  1. Not as bad as they say, those 5 SP, I think the Jays will surprise this year and be in the hunt for a wild card spot in September.. GO JAYS GO!