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by Derek Smart
Remember how maddening it was to see Mike Remlinger getting killed by nearly every lefty he'd face? Well, now that he's battling for a spot on the Braves roster, it seems Rem finally figured out it was an issue that needed correcting.
Since Mike Remlinger left Atlanta after the 2002 season, he's added a few pounds and a few shades of gray hair. But the change that is going to help him make the big-league roster is the addition of a breaking ball that he never had to use during those successful years he previously enjoyed with the Braves.
During Remlinger's 2002 season, his changeup made him even more effective against right-handers than he was vs. left-handers. With the curveball, Cox could feel even more comfortable using Remlinger in any situation.
"We always used him against righties," Cox said. "If the curve is going, we can do anything [with him]."
Beyond noting that 40 seems a little old to be toying with a new pitch, I was going to say something snarky about how Rem was used while in Chicago, but I looked at the breakdown of his batters faced, and his misuse wasn't as egregious as I remembered.
During his last three years under Cox (Retrosheet doesn't have splits for handedness until the 2000 season), he faced righties 70.4% of the time. While under Baker, it was 61.6%, and while he did, indeed, face more lefties in Chicago, one can at least see in that ratio that Baker appears to have had a glimmer of understanding about his strengths and weaknesses, which is about seventeen glimmers more than I would have credited him with before looking at the numbers.