Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Credit where credit is due

There's an interesting article in the PG today. It mostly focuses on "the play," but I don't really feel like dwelling on that any more. If that happens in the seventh inning of a game on July 29th, we all groan and when the game ends, Bay and McLouth probably laugh about it and say something like, "Man, I've never had anything like that happen to me before! It went into the lights in one place and came out of the lights in another! That was crazy!" Instead, it almost cost us the opener and it was nearly the apocalypse to end all apocalypses (apocalyi?). It wasn't an effort problem on the part of anyone involved in the play, it was just some fluky, awful judgment on a fly ball that nearly gave us all aneurysms. If it was something that I thought was indicative of something, I'd be upset. I'm not so sure it is and I think it's better for everyone's mental health if we move on.

No, what I am interested in is this quote:

Consider, for example, that Russell and hitting coach Don Long ordered -- not advised -- everyone with a bat to show patience, particularly against Tom Glavine, whose brilliant career has been built on getting awkward swings at near-miss pitches.

The result: Of the 22 batters Glavine faced, 18 of them took ball one; two drew walks; and seven had hits. Maybe most important, his pitch count was an unwieldy 97 through five innings and forced an early exit.

Now, the Tom Glavine that pitched last night is not the same guy that authored the "brilliant career" that Dejan refers to. Still, it was almost immediately apparent to me last night that he didn't have much and after a semi-wild swinging first inning, the Pirates really worked him deep into a lot of counts. More than anything, that may have won the game for us because Bobby Cox went to the pen in sixth inning and was on his last reliever in the 12th. John Russell may have been loathe to go to Evan Meek or Phil Dumatrait with the game on the line last night, but at least they were there if he needed them.

Rome wasn't built in a day and one game is not going to change the plate philosophy of a bunch of guys that have been doing things differently their entire lives. I don't really think this kind of thing can last. I'm just excited that the coaching staff is putting the emphasis in the right place. Baby steps, people.