Transcript from live chat
Here is the transcript from my live chat Thursday:
Question: What should the red sox do with their abundance of starting pitching?
Me: As far as Penny, Smoltz and the gang, if they keep the two vets, there is no reason to think they can’t go 6 man later in the year to keep eveyrone fresh. I don’t trade ANY pitcher right now, too much can happen, too many days left to start thinking like that, plus if you float that now and don’t trade him, or can’t, you end up with a guy in your rotation that knows you tried to trade him.
Question: How close were the Sox to going with a six-man rotation last year?
Me: It was much closer to reality than people think, I tihnk if I had not been hurt it might have happened a time or two.
Question: How do you explain Jon Lester’s early-season struggles?
Me: Inconsistent. Fastball command is again his main issue. Stuff looks fantastic, he looks very healthy and he’s getting that red ass you want your top of the rotation guys to have. he’s always had that, but it’s showing more now, which is a good thing. He’ll be ok, pencil him in for 15-16 by years end and a few more in October.
Question: Jim Rice suggested Ortiz could snap out of it and hit 25 home runs. What do you think?
Me: If there isn’t a hidden health issue, which I don’t think there is, and he’s able to focus on baseball 100% he will come around, but based on what I saw last night he’s still having trouble and I think he is having a major confidence crisis right now. One thing David could ALWAYS do, is crush Fastballs, from 88-98, and right now he’s having trouble. He used to see 3-4 FB strikes a game, now guys are just pumping one after the other, a David Ortiz with his focus and confidence crushes them.
Question: What kind of advice can you, as a pitcher, give to Ortiz to help him with his slump? Do hitters normally listen to pitchers thoughts?
Me: Sometimes, as I think the case is right now with him, less is more. Mags is the perfect guy to help him because he’s as intrusive, or elusive, as hitters need him to be. If David keeps grinding it out he should find a way out of this.
Question: Do you think Lester’s issue is lack of focus late in his starts?
Me: No, lack of focus is far from a problem for him. Sometimes he overdoes it, he’s still young and learning that Maddux philosphy of ‘less is more’ is hard. When the hitter, fans and umps all know the pressure is on, you as the pitcher dial ‘back’ a bit, let hitters get themselves out, instead of forcing the issue every pitch, that’s a hard lesson to learn as a young pitcher.
Question: Curt, what do you think of the fact that Manny and A-Rod are doing so well in All-Star voting?
Me: It’s an embarassing testament to society and what we say, and what we do, are two very different things.
Question: Are you saying once a player is suspended (like Manny) or admitted (like ARod) in the course of a season they shouldn’t be eligible for the All-Star Game that season? Or Post-season awards?
Question: I’m sure you saw the Carlos Zambrano meltdown … in your experience do umpires hold grudges after something like that or do they let it go?
Me: Umpires ABSOLUTELY hold grudges, and I’ve experienced and watched them take out vendettas DURING games.
Question: Do you have any stories?
Me: 1992 Bob Davidson: Cincy-Bob is mad at Darren Daulton behind the plate, pissed that Dutch is still mad about a called third strike. I can’t throw a ball if I want to, command is awesome, Bob makes a bad call and then calls 3 balls in a row to walk a guy, when I approach him he says “Dutch is pissing me off, I’ll get back to the game and making better calls but he needs to chill out….”
Question: Do you think that there is any way to somehow make the strike zone with umpires more consistent? It seems every game can be so different.
Me: The only true way to make a consistent true strike zone would be electronically, but if you did that, and ruled the strike zone by the book, the batting champ would hit about .275.
Question: Is there anything you would like to see the MLB change to improve the game?
Me: Yes, I would like to see the games umpires held to a stricter code of conduct, fitness and ethics, as well as having them enforce rules uniformly rather than personally.