Wednesday, August 31, 2005

So This is What a Pitching Match-Up Looks Like

It's Wednesday night, and I'm keyed into the game in Seattle between the Yankees and the Mariners.

Randy Johnson vs. Felix Hernandez.

Felix Hernandez vs. Randy Johnson.

Slice it how you want it; they've made T-shirts in Seattle for this match-up.

It's the bottom of the 2nd and both pitchers appear up to the task of living up to the billing.

No score and three punch-outs have been piled up so far. More to follow for sure.

I also have the Oakland-Angels game on for background noise. No score there as well.

Another K for R.J. Just punched out Jose Lopez for his 3rd strikeout.

Fastball hitting 94 according to the YES gun.


Joe Blanton looks to be in command in Anaheim. 0-2 on Kennedy two outs in the 2nd.

K #4 for Johnson. Fastball that painted the inside corner.

(1st post 10:39)

Update #1

I see that it's been 19 days since I've posted anything on this site (Hernandez K#2). What that tells me is that this is less a blog than an occasional diversion.

And what's the point of having Mark Bellhorn on this team? Cano just jumped on a flat off-speed pitch and drilled it to right for his 9th home run of the year. 1-0 New York.

Btw, I'm not one of those guys who gloats in other people's mistakes (at least I don't try to be) [Jeter strikes out], but Jayson Stark went on and on this morning on ESPN Radio that Felix Hernandez had not yet allowed an extra base hit. While the beginning of his career has been mega-impressive to say the least, it hasn't been that impressive.

I watched a condensed version of the M's-White Sox game from last Friday tonight, a game that I had watched sporadically in real-time. And he gave up at least three extra base hits, a double and two home runs.

Just thought I'd throw that out there.

YES offered this little nugget tonight among the many nuggets: Hernandez is the youngest pitcher to start in the majors since Jose Rijo in 1984. Of course another 19-year-old lit up the baseball world in 1984: a guy by the name of Dwight Gooden. Wonder what he would give to get a mulligan for the last 20 years of his life...

Two away for Seattle in the 3rd on two ground balls.

Adam Kennedy just made a nice play in short right field to preserve a 0-0 tie in Anaheim.

Nice play by A-Rod at 3rd to get Ichiro. Caught the ball on the back hand, and had to resort to the jump-and-twirl throw from foul ground, ala Jeter, to get Ichiro at first.

I'm heading to the fridge to get another soda to pull me through the night. You want anything while I'm up?

(2nd post 10:55)

Update #2

Things aren't as easy against this line-up.

Sheffield just drilled a cookie-cutter fastball deep into left-center. 2-0 Yankees against the suddenly human Hernandez.

The game has just been interrupted in Seattle.

Of course, the cameras aren't showing a darn thing except the players looking around awkwardly. Michael Kay is describing that the fan who ran on the field dumped some kind of substance, a powder, on the field before being taken off.

The residue is still on the field, but on they play.

Shouldn't they at least take a stroll over there, and see what the stuff is the guy threw on the ground?

A-Rod strikes out. 4th K for Hernandez.

I'm not one to buy into the whole paranoia should rule our lives mentality, but if someone dumps debris on the playing field, shouldn't they at least take a stroll to see what it is?

Maybe they did and the cameras didn't catch it.

Tino Martinez is having some issues dealing with Hernandez tonight.

He struck out badly in his first AB, and now just grounded into a 3-6-1 DP. End of inning.

Still scoreless in Anaheim in the 4th. What a solid series this has been so far.

Both teams have two hits as they go to the bottom of the 4th.

Bathroom break. And time to get that drink that I talked about above now that both games are at commercials.

Great trivia question by YES tonight.

Last pitcher under age 20 to beat the Yankees: David Clyde in 1973 at the age of 18, and in 1974 at the age of 19.

Anaheim grabs the lead in the 4th on an Erstad double.

I have a soft spot, a relative a soft spot anyway, for David Clyde.

A couple years ago ESPN ran a "Where are They Now" type feature on the poor guy, and Rob Neyer wrote a succinct piece on him in his baseball line-ups book.

Clyde was a high school phenom out of Texas in 1973. I don't have the exact numbers in front of me, but he threw something like five no-hitters in his senior year of high school, and was considered by the baseball establishment of the time as the best pitching prospect in the country.

What would happen to a guy like that now of course, is that he would be treated with kid gloves, babied and nurtured to development. His pitch counts would be analyzed like stock reports, his arm angle dwelled on by physicists.

But back in the early 1970s not too many people gave a crap about pitch counts or the health of young pitchers' arms, especially last place baseball teams desperate to draw anything beside bugs, which is what the Texas Rangers were.

Another K for Hernandez (Flaherty in the 5th, that's five total).

Anyway, the Rangers brought Clyde up to the majors directly out of of high school, and created a tremendous buzz as a result. He pitched well initially, gave the Rangers a false sense of reality, and was never given a chance to truly learn his craft. He cashed in any potential of a career in exchange for being a sideshow freak for about two months.

His career disintegrated into a run of injuries and ineffectiveness. By his mid 20s he was washed up and out of baseball.

Anaheim is now up 2-0 and I'm not sure how they got their run.

For the past couple of years I've had the notion in my mind that John Lackey has been over-rated by the general populace based on the work he did in the stretch run of 2002. But this season has forced me to re-evaluate that: he's a good pitcher.

Randy Johnson just hit 97 on the YES gun, which is certainly a rare occurance for this season.

Johnson just got a punch out on a check swing. Still 2-0 going to the 6th.

(3rd post: 11:23)

Update #3

As we're in the middle innings now, it's sinking in just how good the pitching is right now in these two games. Blanton (2nd in ERA since the All-Star break) has nothing to be ashamed of.

(Another strikeout for Hernandez. Matsui.)

Lackey (3rd best ERA since break) is throwing a shutout. Johnson is throwing a shutout. Hernandez has been bit by a couple of bad pitchers, but has otherwise been stellar.

Good stuff.

Hernandez still has his velocity in the 6th, hitting 97 on the gun. No surprise there; he pitched into the 7th against Chicago on Friday night and stayed up around that number the whole night.

A's-Angels going to the 6th, still 2-0.

Since it's a commercial break, just wanted to mention I pleased I am that Sam Adam's Oktoberfest is on tap at various establishments now. Would easily make my Top 5.

Back to the game.

Yuniesky. That is the first name of Seattle's SS. He's batting against Randy Johnson now ... and has broken up the no-hitter (like how I didn't mention that yet?) with a double to left.

Ichiro moved runner to 3rd on a relatively slow chopper to short.

I asked a friend of mine tonight, "As Yankee fans, who are we rooting for in this A's-Angels series?" Without hesitation he said Oakland. He's not crazy about the A's at all, and thinks they'll falter down the stretch. I don't know that I agree with him...

Johnson just got a strikeout on a 96 mph fastball. 2 outs.

It goes without saying that R.J.'s fastball has had more life in it in these last two starts than at any point in the season. He threw a bullpen session of the mound (a rarity for him) before his last start, and it seems to have made a big difference. 96 ... 97 ... 94. These are numbers he has not been hitting for most of the season.

Jay Payton (2 Ks tonight) up with two on and one out in the 6th.

My goodness... Tino Martinez just dropped a cupcake pop-up in fould ground that would've ended the inning.

Groundball to A-Rod ends it anyway. Still 2-0.

Payton made out (don't know how), and now it's up to Hatteberg with two outs, two on.

Odd play. Ground ball to Lackey's back-hand side, and he just kind of flailed at it, stumbled and fell down. Infield single. Bases loaded, two outs.

Bobby Kielty.

A-Rod up against Hernandez.

1-2 on Kielty, and A-Rod walks.

Lackey's trying to get Kielty to bite on junk in the dirt. It ain't working, 3-2 now.

Bud Black is on the horn.

Yanks have two on and no outs, and are probably on the verge and ending King Felix's night.

Lackey made a good pitch and got a ground ball to end the inning.

Tino up, and doesn't look any better. 0-2.

Looks over-matched

6-6-3 DP on a shattered bat.

A-Rod to 3rd.

Lawton lines out to end the inning.

I'm going to burn some CDs, and pack this blog in for the night. Enjoy the rest of tonight's action.

(4th post, 11:48)

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