Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Nine by Nine, 04.06.04

Second Edition of Nine by Nine. I will try to have these up by noon every weekday, but sometimes paid employment trumps.

1. Curt Schilling, Curt Schilling. Not that it was a surprise, but Schill looked dominant. The ease with which he can throw 95 mph is amazing, and to put it low and away consistently to lefties and righties both, well, have fun opponents. It'll take a while to watch him with real clarity, as a lot of his offspeed stuff looks alike. The splitter is pretty easy to pick out, but the change has similar action -- and the sliders and cutters are very hard to separate. Even the Remdog was having a bit of trouble last night. That probably makes life even harder for the hitter. Myaa haaa.

2. The NESN tech crew, who regularly read and (ahem) financially support The Ninth, took our advice and added the MPH gun to the screen yesterday. Problem is, the readout kept insisting that Curt Schilling was throwing 57 miles per hour. When Frank Castillo dreams, it is of 57 miles per hour.

3. Against Oriole "pitching" yesterday, the Sox accrued 8 walks, but only scored three times. That is, you know, not good. It's great that they're getting the hitters on obviously, but if you receive 10 free baserunners, a game is a mortal lock; with 8 however, the Sox were far from convincing yesterday. It seems logical that that will improve, with good RBI men abound. Let's hope logic conquers all.

4. Doughnuts Orsillo brought up an interesting fact in the 4th inning yesterday: "The last time Baltimore had three or more lefties in their starting rotation," he said between bites, "they were Arthur Rhodes, Jamie Moyer, and Sid Fernandez." Hard to believe. One is still a top-flight starter, another has been one the most dominant lefty relievers in baseball the last few years, and the last is, well, Sid Fernandez. There was something lovable about El Sid. He seemed to only be good when he was over-eating. His few attempts at going slender resulted in worse and worse pitching, so he gave it up. Went fat and became an All-Star. But his career essentially ended at 34 while Moyer keeps going and going. Sort of sad.

5. A shout out to the scouts. Two Pitching Lines: Pedro: 6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K --- Schilling: 6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. If you look at these two lines in the newspaper or, say, on a computer, they look pretty similar. Statistically, Pedey and Schill had very comparable days. Anyone who saw both games can tell you however that that's not the case. Pedro was good, but never really controlled the game. Schilling was a force, and only found himself him real trouble once. If these were high school games that you were scouting on the internet, you would have no way of knowing that. Granted, statisticians have more sensitive measuring tools than a simple pitching line, but this may be a simple example of the value of a pair of eyes.

6. Did you notice the guy sitting behind the right-handed hitters wearing the St. Patrick's Day Sox jersey? Waiving constantly? First of all, whoever was going to see you probably saw you the first time you waived. An hour and a half ago. Second of all, a green jersey? Based on a holiday? You know they make those as a marketing ploy to trick fans into buying something new and different that isn't really new and different, right? And you bought one. And now we all know it. Good work. Don't worry, your Easter jersey is in the mail.

7. Few things are more beautiful than seeing three hitless, scoreless innings of relief in the box score. Embree looked sharp again (The Ninth feels a big year coming), Timlin pulled it together, and Foulke must have been faking in Spring Training. Fastballs on the corners, solid velocity, and nasty changes and splits. The accuracy was twice what he showed Saturday afternoon in Hotlanta. He's going to be fun.

8. Is there a bigger aesthetic whiplash in baseball today than going from Javy Lopez to Jay Gibbons? Javy is a very attractive gentleman, if a bit swarthy. Someone even made a wallpaper of him for crying out loud (I'm not sure I would let anyone see you looking at that). Jay Gibbons, on the other hand, is the Larry Bird of ugly. Literally. Couldn't we throw Palmeiro between them to make the progression a bit more gradual? It hurts my neck.

9. Hey Pokey, this is Donnie Sadler. Have you guys met?