It’s a simple word with a simple concept: throw the ball into the zone.
Antonio Bastardo was going for his third consecutive win by a pitcher just up from the minors but it must have been too much pressure. Like Jamie Moyer’s elusive 250th win, sometimes it’s not what you’re throwing but what’s on your mind.
Pitching is one part mental, and as Charlie Manuel says about Bastardo, “… that’s a confidence thing.” Charlie thinks he’ll rebound from his Saturday night one-inning disaster, even if some Phil’s fans won’t.
And pitching is also one part mechanical. As we’ve seen with Brad Lidge, the slightest compensation in mechanics is all it takes to tweak a 95 mile an hour pitch into a blown save.
But the whole conglomeration of throwing a baseball can be summed up in what’s commonly called “stuff.” And sometimes a pitcher just doesn’t have it.
Saturday night Bastardo was missing his stuff while Chad Durbin found it for three amazing innings. Jack Taschner may never have the right stuff, Sergio Escalona looked scared of the Red Sox stuff, Clay Condrey threw consistent stuff, and J.C. Romero spent his stint on the mound mumbling to his alter ego about stuff.
Maybe the problem is, we need to go shopping for more “stuff.” I’ll help. I can smell real leather selling for a genuine leather price from a mall away.
First we’ll start at Goodwill. Hey, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Look at last year’s bargain find, Joe Blanton. He had an unremarkable 4.96 ERA in 2008 with the A’s before he was acquired. But we all know why Pat Gillick bought him. Adam Eaton had his money in the bank and his eye on a tropical island, and Brett Myers was camping out in minor league trying to find his Zen.
But Blanton was definitely a find. Joining the Phillies fired him up like a knock-off Gucci purse on a poor girl. And I’m sure the “closed-eye home run” wasn’t on his resume, but sometimes – like a blue-light special – it’s about finding the right stuff at the right time.
Last year, Joe Lumber ate up innings and went deep into counts in route to the World Series Championship. Simply put, Joe’s a workhorse. I’ve even heard the Amish are looking at him.
And last year Brett Myers found his stuff. But this year his mojo is locked up in an arm that’s out of commission. But what if someone else uncovers some undiscovered stuff just like Indiana Jones? Jones is an old man. What if Jamie Moyer finds the pitching Arc of the Covenant out there somewhere?
My husband says it’s too late to look. That’s something that should’ve been addressed in the off-season. You can’t wait until it snows to find a pair of Uggs. And you can’t tackle someone on the street to steal boots. Well, actually you can. But the police will take a nice portrait of you if you do.
But in lieu of waiting for the discovery of an alleged long-lost artifact, Ruben Amaro has prepared a wish list. Actually it’s a “pitch list.” The problem is he’s strapped for cash, and I don’t think the limit on the MLB credit card is $50 million. I don’t know if Ruby has the net worth to get someone phenomenal, even if Roy Halladay works through his pesky groin pull and Jake Peavy recovers from his “ankle virus.”
And my fear is Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth will be first on the auction block, especially with top prospects Jason Donald and Lou Marson on the disabled list.
But look on the bright side. If my favorite right fielder’s the one to go, my Jayson Werth blanket will be that much more valuable. But I don’t know what will replace the smilin’ Hawaiian’s hustle.
Like a super coupon that’s expired, it’s too painful to think about.
So, Ruby’s desperate for a bargain. And he’s stalking the discount racks. But there’s no reason to knock down someone to get one. Trust me, you won’t get invited back.
Maybe what we need is to look into our closet again. Maybe Phil’s pitching isn’t “so last year.” Or maybe it is, but is that such a bad thing? The pennant was won by pitching that resembled a good magic act—it was much better in the second half of the show.
We’re thinking we need someone who’s six feet tall and bulletproof because what we have is six feet plus and quite flimsy.
I disagree. Every dog has his day. On a bad one, my “man’s best friend” dumps his stuff right there on the sidewalk. How embarrassing, right?
Well, it’s not good to hold back a bodily function. But we all don’t have to stare at it. Just clean it up and move on.
Ruben Amaro, Jr. will do what he can based on who’s for sale, what’s in his wallet, and who he doesn’t mind trading.
Hey, has he checked EBay? I heard there’s a great replica of the Holy Mother on a grilled cheese up for grabs.
And it’s lunch time.
But that’s a hell of a price to pay for something that’s here today, gone tomorrow.
Be careful what you wish, for you shall get it.
Or maybe, like my husband says, I’m like a washing machine—I just go round and round and agitate people.
In any case, I’ll see you at the ballpark.