Baseball Toaster Cub Town
Living in Hysterialand
2005-03-18 07:22
by Derek Smart

It feels like my brain is looking for things to be upset about.

Greg Maddux had another one of those Madduxian spring outings yesterday, throwing five innings while giving up four runs on seven hits. Not terribly disturbing by itself, after all, it's only March. But am I the only one made a little uneasy by this statement from The Professor?

If you have to give up four runs you should at least feel good about it. They hit some good pitches.

I'll admit, I'm overreacting a bit - I think the ongoing Wood/Prior soap opera is starting to get to me - but here's how I'm thinking of this:

Good pitchers give up hits and runs when they make mistakes, or when they just don't have their stuff. Fastballs aren't located, breaking balls don't break, and as a result a normally tough pitcher has a rough day.

Bad pitchers go out there with their best stuff and still get rocked. The put their heater right where they want to, and their slider has all the bite they can muster, but despite it all they get smoked like Fidel's cigar.

I'm not saying Maddux is a bad pitcher, shoot, I'm not even saying there's something to worry about. I just think there's little comfort to be had in a man you expect to throw 200 of your innings saying that he feels good about his outing because the opposition hit his good pitches.

Geez, where's my paper bag.

2005-03-18 07:45:56
1.   nate
but spring training for pitchers isn't really about preventing runs, it's about fine-tuning mechanics, location, pitches. Maddux is probably working on some pitches and isn't necessarily throwing the same pitch sequence to a batter that he would in a regular season game. In fact, in the book 'Head Game', Maddux says that often in spring training, he pitches a different pitch sequence to a batter so that when he faces the same batter in the regular season, the batter remembers spring training and expects the wrong pitch.
2005-03-18 07:56:18
2.   Miyak
I see what you are saying, Derek, but think about it this way: Yes, good pitchers give up hits when they make mistakes or don't have their stuff. And yes, bad pitchers get rocked even with their best stuff. But although those statements are true, it does not mean that good pitches don't also sometimes get hit even with their best stuff.

For example, If Kerry Wood throws a 95 MPH fastball exactly where he wants to throw it a) it could have been a predictable choice of location that the hitter was sitting on, b) it could have been an unpredictable choice of location, but the hitter nevertheless unpredicably sat on it anyway, c) the hitter just got lucky and gets a broken bat single, or d) the hitter simply gets an amazing hit. I think it was Carlos Beltran that last year hit a homer in the playoffs off Julian Tavarez on a pitch that looked like it was about 6 inches off the ground. Tavarez had good stuff (as much as I hate to say it), and Beltran probably couldn't have done it again if he had 50 more tries. But that time he just had a great at bat, so you have to tip your cap to him and not blame Tavarez. So I think what Maddux means is that if he pitches like he did the other day, he will usually give up a lot less than four runs and seven hits. But that day the hitters just played unusually well, or got unusually lucky.

2005-03-18 07:57:17
3.   Mike Jansen
This isn't the first time we've heard something like this from Maddux either. Last year when he got off to his slow start he would say, practically after every game, that he felt good and he thought he was pitching fine. If, say, Glendon Rusch, Ryan Dempster, and Sergio Mitre were saying this (isn't that rotation just intimidating), I'd be a lot more worried.
2005-03-18 08:11:27
4.   Derek Smart
Thanks for talking me off the ledge a bit, fellas. Really, I know all that stuff already, but it's good to hear it from someone else rather than just in my head. There's too much other noise in there right now for the message to make it through without some outside intervention!

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