Rays 3, M's 2

Am on the run, but didn't see much 'round the 'sphere to read for all y'all, so just real quick about the 13-4 ride we're on :- )


PROPS TO TH' CONTENDA:  The Rays wiped out 7-2 and 7-0, and then just baaaaaaaarely bailed out by their rookie sensation.  If Joyce hadn't thrown out Smoak on that deep SF, they'da been tied after nine.  This is what a series loss for the M's used to look like:  crushed twice and then maybe squeaking one out.


SLOPS TO THE NEW KID ON DA BLOCK:  Just an observation here, not a college thesis.  Jeremy Hellickson illustrates, for me, the idea that when a batter and pitcher are unfamiliar with each other, the pitcher has the advantage.

Not often you see a young megahype kid come up and throw ... 50% offspeed pitches.  I'll give the kid credit for guts.

Still, he's got 6.4 strikeouts, 3.8 walks, numbers that Tom Wilhelmsen could beat starting tomorrow -- and here he is with a 2+ ERA.  If I were Hellickson I'd walk around looking for wallets.

2.80 ERA when it should be 4.30, and 7.7 runs per game support.  Dr. D is just bitter about Doogie's luck.  Give him Hellickson's rabbit foot and Fister would be starting the All-Star game.  


SLIDA MAN WANTS TO LOOK GOOD FIRST AND WIN SECOND:  We'd offered a guess that Doogies little 86 cutter was going to look good first, as Woody hollers at Wesley.  His slider visually looks cool, but it's often up, over, and really just a batting-practice-speed fastball.

It's fine if he makes sure to get it real tight, to miss in with it to LHB's, but otherwise, that's what the bad guys are making the money on.  Again today, the early hits were off that slider.  Linear weight based gained off it were terrible.

Wright and Vargas, he's not.  At least not yet.   Spot the optical-95mph fastball and drop the hammer.  Use the slider six times a game way in on LHB's.

Sigh.  If only Dr. D owned the world, huh?


PROPS TO 12-UP 12-DOWN:  After Fister gave up the 3-spot, he knocked down 12 in a row.

What happened in the first and second?   Just baseball, really:

  • He wasn't *super* sharp early, maybe
  • Two of the first three BB's were on reeeeaal close pitches
  • HP ump Derryl Cousins' 4.60 ERA was #6 of 85 umps last year; he likes the rulebook zone
  • The Rays hit out-of-zone pitches for their solid hits - Damon a low-away change, Zobrist a pitch way high
  • Two painful parachute jobs fell in on Fister, scoring runs

Fister probably pitched about well enough to give up 3 runs.  But his performance wasn't a lot different today.  He was real good.


PROPS AND SLOPS TO FISTER's VELO.  He wasn't 92 mph and Orel Hershiser today -- just the TOR starter that he's been since he started dropping off the yellow hammer.

On the good side:  Fister's velocity gathered momentum like a freight train during the game.  His 91-93 mph phase was during the 5th and 6th, and during the 7th, when he was over 100 pitches, he was just as fast as in the first inning.

Overall, an encouraging game for that ominous "building arm strength" theme.

His awesome curve saved over 1 run in only 18 pitches, but Gimenez only called for it those 18 times in 107 pitches.


PROPS TO CARLOS PEGUERO's WRIST HINGE.  He hit a double right through Casey Kotchman... not through his legs; through his left hip.  We were standing on the concourse behind home, and the ball sounded like a rifle shot.

Kotchman is in the big leagues for his glove, and he was playing real deep, and he looked like Charlie Brown upside down in the air after a Peppermint Patty line drive.

If only they could get this kid making some contact.  Everything off his bat is a potential helicopter ride to the hospital.  Rarely have we seen this kind of raw power.

I think Goku of DragonBall Z had a phase like this.


SLOPS TO D-SHIFTS.  We remember a discussion over whether Teixeira should be ruled out as a Smoak comp because they shift Tex...

Here come Smoak and Cust, back-to-back, and the shifts are radical even by LHB standards.

All. a hitter.  would have to do.  is square around and push it past the pitcher.   Three times, and then they wouldn't shift.

But, hey, no other LH slugger refutes the shift with a bunt, either.  One of the most annoying things about MLB.  Hey Taro, IceX - do lefty sluggers bunt to beat the shift in NPB?


PROPS TO DAVID PAULEY.  Now there's even an All-Star campaign for him :- )

He's got like 20 strikeouts in 35 innings or something ... the guy is a Shigetoshi Hasegawa, pitching over his head.  A zero-plus ERA guy he ain't.

But he's good, and he may have a rubber arm, and you remember us all panicking over this bullpen.  I love it when you ignore a problem and it goes away.






IcebreakerX's picture

Haven't seen enough here to really comment but Japanese hitters also generally are less extreme pull hitters, especially in the elite.
But I somehow remember Matsunaka dropping bunts occasionally. Don't know why, but the fact that a guy that looks like a slightly lighter Cust dropping bunts isn't thought up of quickly.


Though Cust intentionally inside-outed one to LF today.And if he's going to do that, I go back full circle to, How much bunting BP would it take?  To push it past the pitcher 70% of the time on your fair balls?NL pitchers can bunt, right?  Don't even AL pitchers lay down bunts based on a couple days' BP?

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