3/28/07 vs. the Twins and MLB.TV package contest!!!
Quick note before the recap of tonight’s game.
Starting next Monday, Opening Day, there will be a contest on this blog in which two winners (hopefully Red Sox fans!) will be chosen daily over a period of 10-12 days, to receive the the MLB.TV package for the 2007 baseball season. Check back on Sox Opening Day for rules on entering.
They start counting for real now. Was a nice night, warmer than I thought which was a great thing.
Quick observations. Santana, regardless of his line, seems to be better at the end of this spring than he was in 05 and 06, that’s not a good thing. The Twins lineup sans Mauer is very different.I know that’s not incredible insight, but it’s hard to explain just how much different they are with him hitting 3rd. Mike Lowell can flat out pick it.If there is one position I’ve been spoiled on as a pitcher it’s been third base. With the O’s we had Craig Worthington, who could pick it. Then with Houston Ken Caminiti, then to Philly where I got to pitch in front of Scott Rolen. Then to Arizona for Matt Williams, Craig Counsell (horribly underrated defender btw), then here for Billy Mueller and now Mike.
Let’s just start with the game line belies how I felt. I would bet that I threw the lowest % of fastballs for strikes than in any appearance over the last 6-7 years. Had no feel for it and mechanically I could not get in sync. That being said I threw every off speed pitch I had tonight and I am pretty happy that they all feel ready to go.
Fell behind Castillo to start the game and knew on pitch one that I had zero feel for my fastball. Missed the next two by yards instead of inches. Came back to full count and got a tapper for the out. Tyner made an out on a behind in the count change and I got inside on Redman with a 2 seamer. One of the amazing transitions that just kind of happened this spring is being able to ‘pitch to contact’. I’ve always said I do, and sometimes I’ve tried but never to the extent I have this spring.
The 18 pitch first was a result of bad command and not contact. Over the next few innings we did some good things. I let ‘Tek take the game calling completely tonight. There are times when things are just not working, either physically or mentally, and I have to hand over game calling to him. Rather than wait on it, tonight was the perfect time to get one out of the way.
When I am into a game plan and pitching I will be 2-5 pitches ahead of the current pitch sometimes, depending on the hitter and situation. When I am struggling, every pitch, every thought is a grind. Having a catcher, and Doug is fantastic at it too, that you know is in tune with the hitter, your stuff and the plan, is huge. I can go from scrambled thoughts and nothing working, to just clearing the head and waiting on the sign, then the pitch thought and then the pitch. Every now and then they’ll both throw me a ‘curveball’ in a sequence but when I am handing the calling to them I will execute the pitch ten times more efficiently than when I am on a game plan, they put down something I am not expecting, I shake, they insist, I shake, they insist, then I half heartedly make a horrific pitch. I screw that up even now, 15 years after learning not to do it, it’s just that I don’t do it as much is all.
Two hits I gave up tonight were both on bad location. Castillo, after falling behind 0-2, hit what was supposed to be a higher than high middle fastball, that I left at the belt. White hit a 1-2 split that didn’t ‘split’, basically an 85mph floater.
We had agreed that 55 would be the limit tonight, no need to push this last one. This allows you to get in a solid 4 days of pre start work, a good bullpen, and be ready come Monday.