TCR Friday Notes
- The Hardball Times also looks at hitters with an affinity at swinging at first pitch fastballs - Gathright (in a bad way) and Soto (in a good way) are mentioned.
- Fantastic piece by Stats Inc. on newly acquird Aaron Heilman and his repertoire. There's some words of warning in there, but it's pretty clear he has filthy stuff.
More after the jump...
When ex-hitters become managers, some, like Lou Piniella of Seattle,
never develop an understanding for pitchers. Piniella has been able to
channel the manic competitiveness of his playing days into the dugout,
barking at umpires, screaming at his coaches, demanding accountability
for mistakes and sometimes just plain bullying his players. Hitters
like Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez have responded to his
intensity. Pitchers have not. Piniella ''is the manager who hates
pitchers,'' says Jeff Nelson, a Yankees reliever who used to pitch for
Seattle. ''It's not hard to understand why that is.''
was a great hitter for 18 seasons; his professional responsibility was
to loathe pitchers. How could he just shut that off?
doesn't have patience,'' Nelson says. ''He doesn't understand pitchers.
He tells you, 'Throw the ball over the plate.' You feel like saying:
'Is that what I'm supposed to do? I didn't know that. I thought I was
supposed to come out here and walk everyone.' ''
To quote Jim Kaat from Sunday night's BBWAA dinner, about his old
Yankees teammate Lou Piniella: "I've always been amazed that a guy
could be such a successful manager even though he hates pitchers."
- A look at the potential mechanical flaws with Rich Hill. I have some issues with the article since it appears to be relying on stock photos from different time periods with no true reference point. For all we know, those could be at different points in his motion and nothing has changed. For the right way to do a pitching mechanics comparision, check out a Carlos Gomez or Chris O'Leary post (NSFMPH - Not Suited for Mark Prior Haters).
Also, the article points to a re-teaming with O's pitching coach Rick Kranitz, although Hill has often given more of the credit to Alan Dunn. Of course, Dunn is the bullpen coach for the Orioles, so same difference.
- Wild-ass speculation on my part, but let me weigh in on this Blanco vs. Bako debate that seems to be raging. When the first reports of Bako signing came out I recall a throwaway line about the Cubs wanting someone who would be comfortable with not playing much. Then last week there was another throwaway line from a radio report that the Cubs weren't too pleased with Blanco last year. This leads me to the conclusion that Blanco did a bit of behind the scenes sulking about not getting into more games and probably why they chose to go another route. And Bako is one of God's People, i.e. hits from the left side.
- To follow up recent top 50 announcers of all-time lists, Yahoo Sports does the bottom 50. I respectfully disagree on #13(Gus Johnson) and #29(Dick Enberg). If you don't like Gus Johnson, you watch sports for all the wrong reasons.
- The Heckler pokes fun at the Bleacher Stalkers.
- Wrigleyville23 and Out of Right Field have taken up our MVN spot after The View from the Bleachers left. Hope it goes better for you guys. (Bites lip...checks calendar to see when non-disclosure agreement expires).
Enjoy the weekend!
In all seriousness the Cubs have the fewest amount of games played in the NL which means they're gonna be facing quite the grind later on including 24 games in a row at the end of June and beginning of July so I hope he does get a few days off.
Meh. He only got one hit today. Maybe give him a rest?
Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]
ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.
cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels.
M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores) the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating.
E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.
Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.