GAME TIME 6:15 pm CDTugh. reyes was at his nibbling, maddening worst last night. houstoncardinal kept track of reyes' pitch selection last night with men on base ---- 50 percent fastballs, 50 percent junk. and both halves of the repertoire were getting hit. the leadoff single came off a fat breaking pitch up in the zone --- i'm not sure if it was a changeup or a curve that didn't bite. the next single came off an inside fastball; it wasn't hit hard --- a little flare over the infield --- but kearns overpowered the pitch, rather than vice versa. dmitri young took a first-pitch changeup the other way for a single. and the cruelest blow, nook logan's double, came off a first-pitch fastball. that pitch alone is enough to stir up some doubts about reyes: nook logan, who has a .346 career slugging percentage, pulled reyes' fastball and hit it 360 feet --- his second double off reyes. the gun had that pitch at 89 mph, and it was about belt high; coulda been either a 4-seamer or a 2-seam that didn't sink. it hardly matters. molina was set up inside, but reyes left the pitch over the middle of the plate and paid the price.
after that he was afraid to throw either pitch over the plate, pitched tony batista so carefully you'da thought he was barry bonds. (batista has been released twice in the last 8 months.) after falling behind the subsequent hitter, felipe lopez, 2-0 on two errant changeups, he fired two four-seamers in there but was so messed up he couldn't get either one close to the plate.
maybe it wouldn't make a difference --- maybe he'd get clobbered --- but just once, i'd like to see reyes pitch up in the strike zone when he gets in a jam. i'd like to see him challenge hitters with his best fastball --- 4 seams, 91 to 94 mph --- and see what happens. if he gets mashed, the results could hardly be any worse than what we saw last night. and then we'd have our answer; then we'd know he can't get guys out that way. but we're already getting our answer vis-vis the nibble-with-slop strategy: reyes can't execute it. it's not the right way for him to pitch. for somebody else, maybe so; not for this guy.
here's another thing i've noticed about reyes: seems like every time he pitches, some incredibly frustrating thing occurs after he has left the game to deny the cardinals a win. check this out:
- april 16: trailing by 1 in the 9th, the cards load 'em up with 1 out against a struggling salomon torres, with duncan and pujols due up; they both pop out to end the game.
- april 27: trailing by 1 in the 8th, the cards put men on 1st and 3d with nobody out and rolen and edmonds due up; they don't score.
- may 7: tyler johnson walks home the winning run with 2 outs in the 9th inning.
- may 19: a detroit fan touches a live ball in the 9th inning, creating a ground-rule double and forcing the game-tying run to return to 3d base. he never scores.