Thursday, April 27, 2006

Two thoughts

There were actually two things I thought about yesterday's game that I didn't mention because I was having too much fun acting like a six-year-old with that picture of Albert Pujols. First off, Zach Duke clearly did't have his best stuff again and still managed to have a respectable outing. I mean 53 strikes in 102 pitches is not good and it's certainly very un-Duke-like. It's clear that Duke is still ironing out those changes to his mechanics that Colborn made. Still, I think he's getting there.

Second, I know it sounds crazy, but I'm not sure I pitch to Pujols at the end of the game. Let's weigh the options. First off, Pujols is at the plate. The guy is crazy good. Everyone in the park knew he was going to get a hit. Everyone watching the game on TV knew he was going to get a hit. Hell, I had to leave my apartment before the end of the game (chemistry nerd stuff, one of the grad students in my lab group was giving a public seminar on her research and I had to go listen), but when I snuck a peak at GameCast and saw runners on first and second and Pujols up, I knew the game was over. Especially with the ancient Roberto Hernandez on the mound. He's been decent this year, but the man does not inspire hope when going up against the man who very well may end up best hitter of this generation. On the other hand, Pujols is slow as molasses and if Hernandez could somehow induce a ball on the ground hit either in the general vicinity of Jack Wilson or directly at someone else in the infield it would be almost a certain double play. Still, not exactly something I'd count on, especially given the rather poor range of both Craig Wilson and the Joker and the complete indifference Jose Castillo has shown towards fielding ground balls this year. Oh and given the fact that Pujols doesn't hit ground balls. HE HITS LASER BEAMS. So, say we don't pitch to Pujols, that means Encarnacion comes up. The outfield is playing in the infield at this point because that's the only place they could've thrown anyone out from at that point. In effect, a flyball from Encarnacion is a win because in the 9th inning yesterday, Nate McLouth in right represented our best outfield arm and none of them were throwing Eckstein out at the plate from third. Encarnacion also had a sac fly earlier in the game. Still, he's been awful this year. Just putrid. I mean the only guy he showed any offense against all year is Victor Santos. A lot of people would be a lot better if they could hit against Santos every day of the week. After Encarnacion (assuming a K) is Spezio. Dudes with bright red strips of hair on their chin don't scare anyone when the game is on the line. That's a fact.

So there it is, I think that the fact that he's ALBERT FREAKING PUJOLS probably outweighs the decent possibilty of a double play from him at the plate. The biggest question about the whole thing is the outfield arms. With a decent arm in left or center, there's no chance in hell I pitch to Pujols yesterday. Even with Bay and Duffy out there, you do have to consider that there's no way yesterday's game could've ended worse for us. That sounds like hindsight, but raise your hand if you thought Pujols wasn't getting a hit there yesterday. That's what I thought.