Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Scouting Report: Dodgers at Nationals (8/27)

Again, while I'm on vacation I'm just posting the simple pitching previews and predictions. If the scheduled starters changed since Friday, that won't be reflected here. Also, although there will be more posts that will appear over the course of the week, this is the last preview I'll until I get back.

Pitching Match-Up
Greg Maddux
: The Greatest Pitcher of Our Generation.
When we write of Maddux, we all write in SBF-style caps.

Back in the day, Maddux's fastball had a freakish late life and movement that no other pitcher had and made his fastball seem far tougher than the radar gun said (and once upon a time even the radar gun said it was pretty fast). I think of Maddux and Mariano Rivera as a category unto themselves--once-in-a-generation talents who could make the ball do things no one else could.

Maddux has lost all that.
These days, he's a league-average innings-eating soft-tosser who gets guys out Jamie Moyer-style with Jedi-like command. Ninety percent of his pitches are fastballs and change-ups. He just keeps putting the ball on the paint, down in the zone, taking 5-6 mph off the 'fastball' with the change-up, and eventually hitters give in. When you're walking only 1.53 per 9, it's a pretty effective way to pitch. He also mixes in an occasional slider, cutter, and curve. Bottom line, I still think he probably stands up there thinking, "gee, how should I get this guy out? Oh, I guess I'll do X this time."

How do you beat him? Patience, yes, if needed, but really it's more plate discipline. If you're prone to taking strike one evey time, he'll know that and put you behind in the count all day. So it's really about being able to spot the pitch to hit and slugging it, not just singling with it. Maddux won't give us enough pitches to hit to string together singles and walks. So basically that means we're probably doomed, unless there's an aberration of power from our guys or wildness from Maddux. I can't decide which seems less likely.

Well, at least Maddux is usually gone after 5 or 6. The Dodgers aren't so great in the pen if they have to bridge 2-3 innings to get to Broxton.

What else do Jamie Moyer and Greg Maddux have in common? You know the answer--both broke in as properties of the Chicago Cubs. Yeah, it ain't the goat. It's
bad management and a 100-year unwillingness to adequately prioritize pitching. I'm writing this as the Nationals are on their way to Chicago to start that series, so forgive me I have Cubbie on the brain.

Tim Redding: Redding pitched his best game in a month last time out in Philly: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 5 SO, 1 BB. He kept us in the game long enough for us to finally win a game after losing 12 straight.

What did he do differently? Not much, I gotta say. He got a few more groundballs than usual, maybe one more strikeout than usual. Defense made all the plays. A guy like Redding will give you some starts like this and some like we've been seeing.

Fearless Prediction
Dodgers again, lots of groundball outs again. 5-2 feels right.

1 comment: said...

I was on vacation last week myself and just caught up on everything you've written since the Crow debacle. And I am shocked to say that I agree with almost everything you said. Especially this:

"Their error, the same as the team's, is that they didn't start talking turkey till it was too late. They played a risky game of chicken, and neither side really thought the other side would drive off the cliff, and they both did. It was a delicate negotiation that required intelligence and maturity and it was allowed to devolve into a dick measuring contest. Just a complete incompetent bungling on both ends."

Also, the Cubs, the Bulls and ... the Packers? Did you grow up in Kenosha or something?