Game 48 Open Thread: May 28, 2007, 2:05 pm CDT

wells

francis

2-8, 6.10

3-4, 4.11

GAME TIME 2:05 pm CDT

well, after reading joe strauss's article about the reyes demotion, i'm quite discouraged. this is still all about the two-seamer:
"In order to minimize damage when a situation develops, the best chance you've got is to get a ground ball," Duncan said. "Anthony's ratio of ground balls is not good. What's his alternative? Trying to strike somebody out. As soon as you start trying to strike somebody out, you typically end up losing control of counts and walking guys. Bad things happen. He really needs to develop more confidence in a pitch that he can get a ground ball with."

Duncan cited Reyes' reluctance to embrace a sinking, two-seam fastball and described his curveball as inadequate.

two things trouble me about that statement. first of all, the best chance to minimize damage is not a ground ball; it's a strikeout. a strikeout is always the best way to minimize damage, because a strikeout can't dribble through a hole or take a bad hop or get booted or lead to an errant throw. a groundball is only converted into an out 75 percent of the time --- that's a fact, not a wild-ass guess --- and it only becomes a double play (assuming men are on base) 30 or 40 percent of the time. a strikeout is an out 99.999 percent of the time; you can only go wrong if the catcher drops the 3d strike. dave duncan is a very smart man and one of the best pitching coaches in baseball, but he's wrong on this point.

the other thing that bothers me about that statement is the same thing that has bothered me about their handling of reyes from the very beginning: reyes is not a groundball pitcher. never has been. he's a strikeout/flyball pitcher. getting a groundball with men on base might be the best way to minimize damage in the abstract, but it's not the best way for this player. his strengths lie elsewhere. the same was true of woody williams, you might recall; he gave up more flyballs than grounders throughout his career in st louis, and has pitched that way throughout his career. woody had a lot of success here and has stayed in the major leagues for a long time; i don't recall the cardinals ever trying to change him into a sinkerball pitcher.

i had hoped that reyes was being sent to memphis to regain command of his 4-seamer --- throw 60 of them a game and hone his control, while sharpening his command of the changeup that plays so well off the high fastball. kinda doesn't look like that's the game plan, however. at this point, he --- and the organization --- are probably best served by a parting of company.

as for yesterday's result --- more discouragement. this team simply can't afford to lose home series to last-place teams. they went 4-2 on the homestand, which is ok, but this team has to be greedy --- after sweeping the pirates, they were in a position to go 6-0 or 5-1. their failure to capitalize on the opportunity they gave themselves --- well, it remains to be proven that this team is capable of seizing opportunities. the brewers are in a 4-12 tumble, while the astros have gone 5-11 over that span and the cubs have gone only 6-10 --- but the cardinals have gone just 7-9 over that span and remain, at best, on the fringes of the race.

and now they have three relief pitchers in the rotation.

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