more bullet-pointed fare today --- assorted non- and semi-cardinalcentric thoughts about baseball:
- what a pleasure to watch josh beckett pitch last night. i haven't ever had a chance to sit down and watch this guy. i believe he could have beat the indians last night with just one pitch, his fastball --- pinpoint accuracy, late movement, and (oh yeah) mid-90s velocity. he ought to try that one time, ie an all-fastball outing. i seem to recall a legend that dizzy dean once told the opposition before a game, "nuthin' but fastballs today, fellahs" --- held true to his word, struck out a bushelful of batters, and beat 'em handily. (scroll down to the dean obituary in this link.) that story's probably not true, but i'm glad there's no pitch-fx log out there to disprove it. . . . anyway, back to beckett: i for one wasn't all that impressed w/ his breaking pitches, but the cleveland hitters were buckling at the knee anyway --- because they were so geeked up for the fastball. beckett was fearless with those breaking balls --- he was lobbing them right over the plate, not at all worried about location. didn't have to worry about it. the indians made contact (foul ball or ball in play) on only 72 percent of their swings last night, a ridiculously low total (80 percent is average); they also were able to put just 24 percent of the strikes they saw into play, an obscenely low percentage as well (mlb average, 31 percent).
- i generally detest fox's coverage, but the close-up they did on manny ramirez's single off the yellow line was outstanding. they should do more stuff like that.
- john hickenlooper, the mayor of denver, was on my flight home yesterday; i had a long chat w/ him at the gate about the rockies. back in april, he boldly predicted on KOA (denver's answer to KMOX) that the rockies would win 87 games and make the playoffs as western division champs. "they won 76 games last year with absolutely no pitching," he told me. "i thought the pitching would be better this year, and (centerfielder willy) taveras would make a big difference for the defense. and i knew tulowitzki was gonna be great; i saw him play when he came up last fall." i've known hickenlooper since the early '90s, when i was an in-over-my-head editor at denver's alt-weekly, and hick owned the brewpub / pool hall across the street; i spent a lot of time over there seeking refuge from my in-over-my-headness. hickenlooper played a not-inconsequential role in bringing baseball to this town; the success of his tavern demonstrated the economic potential of lower downtown (which is where the ballpark is now located), and he sat on some committees and rallied support for the bond issue authorizing the stadium (which barely passed). somehow we allowed the conversation to veer away from baseball; we ended up talking about schools and parks (zzzzz . . . . ). so i never got his prediction for the Series. i gotta think he's calling it rox in 4 . . .
- and here, by the way, is a list of all the teams who've gone undefeated in a single postseason.
- la russa to the royals? one of the best baseball writers around, joe posnanski, sincerely hopes not. this is not a serious consideration, by the way, so don't get all excited; just part of the interesting little back-n-forth poz had w/ la russa pal bobby knight. recommended reading. in fact, posnanski's blog is always recommended, no matter the subject.
- Future Redbirds cited an interesting article in the memphis commercial appeal about dyar miller's reassignment in the st louis system; he's out as the triple A pitching coach, and will become the roving minor-league instructor. the commercial appeal wondered if the change had anything to do with miller's impolitic comments this year (made on st louis radio and elsewhere) about dave duncan's handling of anthony reyes. miller says no, it wasn't a factor. . . . .
- speaking of the minors: if you haven't noticed yet, mitch boggs has turned in a couple of nice outings for the mesa solar sox in the arizona fall league: 6 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs. the three position players from the st louis farm system aren't getting a great deal of playing time (40 at-bats total); they have 0 extra-base hits so far as a group . . . .
- finally, derrick goold has a gold-mine of information on card farmhands' performances in the fall instructional leagues. lookin' good: jess todd, clay mortenson, d'marcus ingram, andrew brown, nick additon. not lookin' good: oliver marmol, daryl jones, shane robinson. pete kozma didn't play; spent the session working on his defense w/ mark dejohn.