Saturday, April 10, 2010

Whoop Dee Doo

I didn't have a lot of faith in Jorge De La Rosa.  Yeah, he had a fantastic end of the season in 2009; after dropping his first 6 decisions, he finished winning 16 of his next 19.  He was just above average as a pitcher (ERA+ of 105), and had a tremendous K/9 rate (9.4).

We've seen this sort of thing before, at least with the 16-3 record after 5 June.  1984:  Rick Sutcliffe won 16 of 17 after being traded to the Cubs.  1985:  John Tudor won 20 of 21 after June 3 for the Cardinals.  It was a one-time deal for them, so I naturally assumed 2009 was a one-time aberration for De La Rosa. 

It might still be.  It wasn't yesterday.  De La Rosa made the Padres look silly (7IP, 1 ER, 9K), as the Rockies won their home opener 7-0.

I don't want to belabor the point - you've probably read all about it elsewhere - but I wanted to point out a couple of things.

Clayton Richard pitched well.  He gave up 2 runs on a one out single by Ian Stewart in the third.  Richard broke Stewart's bat on the pitch, and the ball still landed in the outfield.  What can you do?  The other was a solid single to Todd Helton in the fifth.  Helton isn't the hitter he was 10 years ago, but he's still very dangerous, and his .427 career OBP is the best in the majors right now.

Everth Cabrera.  He saved a run in the third on Dexter Fowler's hit up the middle.  By getting to it, he was able to hold Carlos Gonzalez at third.  Helton then grounded out to first and ended the threat.  It's also been a long time since I saw someone steal a base so cleanly he was on the base before the throw arrived, as Cabrera did in the eighth.  Too bad he couldn't stop his momentum and got himself tagged out.  Tulowitzki did what all middle infielders are taught to do:  he kept the ball on the baserunner until the umpire made a call.  Cabrera kept going, Tulo kept tagging, and the umpire got the call right.

Hit and run on 0-2?  The Padres talked all spring about being aggressive.  With Kyle Blanks on at first and two out, Manager Bud Black started Blanks while Headley faced an 0-2 count.  This is completely against conventional widsom.
  • You don't start a runner who is slow,
  • You don't start a runner with two out, because if he's thrown out that ends the inning (unless its a full count)
  • You don't start a runner 0-2.  2-0, 2-1?  Sure.  But not 0-2.
Hitting a baseball is tough enough.  Making contact when down in the count 0-2, when the pitcher holds all the aces and you're just trying to be defensive, is REALLY tough.  Did it work?  Of course it worked.  Headley singled through the hole vacated by Rockie second baseman Clint Barmes, Blanks went to third.  Too bad S. Hairston stuck out swinging to end the inning.

This is a fine example of why Bud Black is the manager and I'm not.  I sure wouldn't have the cojones to put that play on in that situation of a scoreless game.  Well done, Mr. Black. 


  1. A ballsy/curious call by Black but Headley's bat control is much improved. Striking out and swinging and missing less this year.....of course we've only played 5 games.

  2. Very true. And congrats for posting the first comment ever on this blog!

  3. The virgin comment? I'll be honest....that makes me feel a little bit dirty.

    Since I was watching Wedding Crashers yesterday I'll paraphrase and combine a couple of lines form that movie: Don't think that I think of you as just another notch in my belt(Christopher Walken).....because.....I don't even wear a belt (Vince Vaughn).

    Hey, there's your second comment!