can't help it, i gotta make fun of that picture. picture stringy locks hanging down alongside thomson's face . . . . .he's shaggy from scooby doo, no? or better yet -- eric stolz from "pulp fiction."
you're forgiven if the phrase "stringy locks" makes you think of jeff weaver this morning, what with the cardinals mulling what he's worth.
i caught the 1st inning last night on espn, then went w wife and kids for holiday pops concert and fireworks; came back, saw the score, and looked at the 3d on mlb.tv in depressing detail. reyes threw 36 pitches that inning, only 19 for strikes -- the homers all came off fastballs, on counts of 2-1, 3-2, and 3-1. sometimes it's a pretty simple game.
i didn't keep track pitch-by-pitch, but it looked to me as if errant fastballs (both the 2- and 4-seam species) created most of those hitter's counts; he seemed to get the changeup over reasonably well but only threw 5 or 6 in the inning. got good results with it -- struck out betemit on one, got ahead of renteria 0-2 on another (and made him look silly doing it); in a later inning (the 5th) he induced andruw to chase a first-pitch changeup and ground into a double play. you wonder if maybe they ought to let anthony throw that thing from behind in the count ev'y once in a while, just to keep 'em honest. indeed, i wonder if that's what reyes suggested to molina when he called him out to the mound with a 2-1 count on brian mccann. the cardinals were still ahead at that point, 3-2, with two outs in the 3d and a man on first. after yadi returned to the dish, they threw a 2-seamer down and in and missed with it (reyes couldn't have thrown more than 1 in 3 of those damn 2-seam things for strikes in that inning), then came back with a 3-1 fastball that mccann was not, um, fooled by. the braves took the lead.
reyes had a lousy inning; i'm still optimistic about him. i also still get the distinct impression tony and dave just plain don't like him. did you catch this ringing praise from duncan at the conclusion of joe strauss's sunday piece?
lot of rumbling among the reyes fan club that his sudden inability to locate his fastball -- two starts in a row now -- is the result of duncan and la russa harping on that damn 2-seamer again. seems like a possibility; even al hrabosky questioned the heavy use of the 2-seamer in the game vs cleveland, and the above-cited strauss article referred to reyes' reluctant surrender to (i cringe) the pitch-to-contact philosophy. for now i'll suspend judgment; he didn't throw the 4-seamer for strikes either, so maybe he's simply out of synch. for whatever reason, in these last two starts reyes hasn't been able to do what worked so well for him vs the white sox -- and vs the royals and astros, for that matter: change speeds. he was up in the zone in all three of those games but still kept the hitters off balance by flicking that changeup at them liberally. last night he didn't throw the change nearly as often, and he was behind in the count way more often. . . . throw strikes and change speeds, kid; simple game.
he faces clemens next time, in the bandbox.
dear josh kinney: i was at this game in the opening week of 1984 when a rookie pitcher made his big-league debut and, on his 1st pitch -- at least, i think it was his 1st pitch -- gave up a two-run blast to jeffrey leonard. it went over the centerfield fence at candlestick park; balls didn't exactly fly out of there. the next hitter, chili davis, scorched a double. the pitcher settled down, got through 2 more innings (scoreless), and went on to have a pretty decent career. . . . . looks like kinney has a big-league slider, throws strikes. i'm glad he's getting a shot.
colby rasmus is a cardinal -- a palm beach cardinal, that is. got called up yesterday, presumably will debut today vs jupiter. he leaves behind a team with a very 2006ish look: four of the top 9 picks from last month's amateur draft play for quad cities.
another recently promoted prospect, blake hawksworth, got knocked around last night for 10 hits and 6 runs in 5 innings. he also made an error and yielded his 1st home run of 2006.
enjoy the holiday, ev'yone.