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back to basics

does that count as a complete game for reyes?

he simplified things nicely last night, returning to the fastball-changeup repertoire that (ahem) got him to the big leagues in the first place. fastballs up, changeups down, the occasional slurve to keep them honest, and about 5 or 6 strategically placed 2-seamers. the vast majority of his fastballs were above the belt and above 90 mph (on SNY's gun) last night; those are obviously 4-seamers. and 2 or 3 were unquestionably 2-seamers --- they were at the knee or below, and 87 or slower on the gun. one of those was the pitch david wright hit out of the park --- the only clear-cut 2-seamer reyes threw in the entire inning. another one came on his final pitch of the outing, inducing the groundout by paul lo duca with men at 2d and 3d to end the threat in the 5th. maybe 7 or 8 pitches fell into a grey area, ie they were thigh-high and 88 to 90 mph; some of those pitches were probably weak 2-seamers, and the others must've been weak 4-seamers.

he returned his changeup to the fore last night, and it was sharp --- most of his 7 groundball outs last night came on that pitch. for all the endless back n forth about 2-seam / 4-seam, the inconsistency of reyes' changeup has contributed mightily to his collapse this year. the pitch deserted him in his very first inning of this season, and he has struggled with it all year long. but last night he threw it with confidence and to great effect. of course, the pitch works best in tandem with the high heat (let last night serve as an object lesson), so an argumentative person might say that the ineffectiveness of the change has been a direct result of dave n tony's distaste for reyes' 4-seamer . . . . but i'm not the kind of guy who would say such a thing. i will say, however, that reyes blew some high fastballs past some pretty good hitters: jose reyes, lo duca, and delgado all swung through fastballs up in the zone. if he continues to pitch this way, he just might hang on to his increasingly tenuous slot in the rotation.

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one of my favorite non-prospects, mike parisi, made a very nice start at memphis last night --- 8 innings, 3 runs in a 3-2 loss. i'm probably the only guy who thinks this guy can pitch in the major leagues --- or who even cares whether he can or not. his overall line at triple A looks pretty bad --- 5.32 era, .296 avg allowed --- but those numbers are distorted by two catastrophic starts in hitter-friendly, high-altitude ballparks (salt lake and colorado springs). in those two outings he gave up 24 hits and 17 runs in 8.2 innings; his line for the other 13 starts looks like this:
79.1 78 30 41 7 3.97 1.361 .260 .334 .387

not eye-popping numbers by a long shot --- the k/9 and k/w figures are flat-out unimpressive --- but one might discern in them, if one wished, the vague outlines of a brad thompson-esque pitcher. parisi is a groundball maker (1.70 go/ao) with a hard sinker --- the type of guy who usually gets a look in this organization. i'll admit it's kind of cheap to arbitrarily expunge a guy's two worst games from the record and say "see --- he's really a very good player," so let's chop things up a little more conventionally:

first 7 starts 35 52 14 16 3 7.46 1.800 .374
last 8 starts 53 50 18 30 5 3.91 1.283 .243

he appears to have made some adjustments, which you like to see --- parisi has increased his strikeout rate and drastically lowered his hits allowed while improving his control. he's no big deal, a 9th-rounder from the scorned 2004 draft who keeps plugging away, advancing one rung a year through a weak system. all the same, he reached triple A in less than 3 years and is surviving there. for reasons i don't really understand, i have always rooted for this player; i hope he keeps taking little steps forward, and if he does i'll write 'em up.

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because new stl pitcher mike maroth has a blog, i figured he might be amenable to doing an interview with me. the folks at Gateway Redbirds had the same idea, though, and they got through the door first: maroth has agreed to take questions at GR. if you want to submit a question, put it in this thread. i'll let you know when the answers are posted.

finally, a programming note: i'm heading off to a family reunion next week and will be mostly out of pocket. various members of the community will be posting on the main page during the week; please treat 'em with courtesy. how many games out do you figure the cardinals will be by the time i get back from vacation? i reckon the team will be in full "sell" mode by then . . . .