Creeping Inexorably Toward A Worthwhile Sub-Heading.
Sunday, March 14, 2004
Game Notes - March 13 vs. White Sox
I hope as many of you as possible got to watch yesterday's ballgame. It was spring, but it was still baseball, it was still a win, and it was still against the White Sox. A couple of observations:
Carlos Zambrano wasn't terribly sharp, but he managed to get through 5 innings on about 73 pitches (that's my count, I haven't been able to find an official number). That puts him right around 100 over 7, and I'll take that most days. He pretty obviously didn't have his best stuff, as he struck out no one, walked two and gave up eight hits, getting the ball up a lot more than I'm comfortable with. Luckily, it was usually out of the zone, so it wasn't as damaging as it could have been. It was your basic gusty, mediocre outing, but if all the Sox good hitters were in the game (Ordonez, Thomas, Lee and Crede were sitting out), it could have been an ugly day.
If Willie Harris continues to have games like yesterday, he won't get many starts at second for the Sox this year. In three at bats against Zambrano, on a day where anyone could see he was struggling a bit and having trouble throwing strikes, Harris saw all of four pitches, resulting in two grounders to second, and one foul pop out. You'd think he played for the Cubs.
It was nice to see Sosa hit a long ball, but it was a total mistake pitch, about mid-thigh on the inner half of the zone. He should crush those every time, so I don't look at that as an indication of anything. If you want to see how Sammy's really doing, watch what he does with pitches on the outside. If he tries to pull them, he's in trouble. But if he sends them the other way, he could be a lot more fun to watch this year.
Patterson continues to look solid. His first at bat was only one pitch long, but the next two were signs of progress, one ending in a strikeout, and the other an RBI single. The strikeout was probably the best of the day, seeing Corey get down 1-2, but hold off on two breaking balls I fully expected him to swing at, making the count full. Of course, he swung at the same pitch he had just spit on earlier for strike three, but not swinging at a tasty looking breaking ball on a 1-2 count was huge progress for him.
Finally, the most encouraging part of the day was seeing LaTroy Hawkins go two innings late in a tie ballgame. I know it's Spring Training, but if this is any indication of how Dusty intends to use him, Cub opponents had better score early and often in 2004.