Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Rotten Grapefruit

You win 60, you lose 60, and what happens in those other 40 games makes the difference. Or something like that. Today was one of those 60 games you lose (he writes as they play the bottom of the eighth).

The game was painful from the outset. You didn't have to be Johnny Sain to see that Wells didn't have it. Last year, he often got it up there at 88-89 mph, and may have touched 90 a few times. Tonight is was mostly 80-83, with an occasional 85. Without a trick pitch, a herky-jerky delivery, or pinpoint control and a big zone, can Wells can win if the stuff he has tonight is what's left in his arm?

What a difference a day makes. Quality starts coming with regularity, followed by junk.

You can't say that a guy who's pitched in the majors for 20 years, 'suddenly' lost it. You have a bad day at the office and it doesn't mean you're finished. But professional sports has legions of young, talented, hungry athletes ready to challenge for your spot. And don't think that David Wells and Theo Epstein don't know that.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the field, the defense remained good, and Doctor Longball showed up in the persons of Dustin 'The Wind' Mohr, David Ortiz, and Wily Mo 'Coyote' Pena. Although Youkilis hit the ball well into tonight, he looked totally out of it at the plate, but played a crisp first.

Rudy Seanez didn't look like 'El Busto' tonight.

John McDonald really gets rid of the ball quickly at short. I'm presuming that means he doesn't have much of an arm. I like to watch the shortstops that make it look easy, like Vizquel, or obviously Gonzalez. Nomar and Jeter both make a lot of plays look hard. Gonzalez made an eye-popping play from the hole tonight.

Scanning the minors, I see the Pawsox have Trent Durrington pitching in extra innings, so I guess the pen is gassed. Dustin Pedroia is supposed to be on the shelf for now with a shoulder strain. At least the Sox don't have the need right now. Jacoby Ellsbury had a couple of hits for high A Wilmington, and the Pawsox don't score much. You can check 'em all out at

When you can't watch the players, you can watch their stats. Because baseball is fundamentally a game of run production and run prevention, I like to watch the OPS (on base slugging percentage) of the hitters, and the WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) of the pitchers, as well as the K/BB ratios.

Although Abe Alvarez gets guys out in AAA, I just wonder if he has enough fastball to win in The Show. Maybe he's Mark Buehrle 'Lite' or in my wildest dreams Mike Cuellar They used to say of Cuellar, that he threw pitches up like they were rotten grapefruit. Of course, how far can you hit a rotten grapefruit?

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