Creeping Inexorably Toward A Worthwhile Sub-Heading.
Friday, April 09, 2004
Game Notes: First Pitch Swing Mix
I don't ask for a lot. A healthy, loving family, the company of good friends, a roof over my head. You know, the basics. However, I'd like to add something, though not at the expense of the above. I want the Cubs to see more pitches.
I'm not asking for the world, here. I'd never say, for example, that I wanted the club to lead the league in walks. That would be like a little girl asking for a pony for Christmas, then specifying that the pony must be a unicorn. It's just not possible, and while I realize that the composition of the offense is not conducive to high levels of free passes, I don't think wishing for a couple of hitter's counts is too much to ask. Here are a two teams and their pitch per plate appearance breakdowns for their first three games.
Team B? Who else, but the current front runners in the NL Central, the Seattle Pil...um...Milwaukee Brewers. Before anyone says, "Yeah, but the Brewers were hitting against the Cardinals' pitching," let me point out that the Reds allowed 89 more runs than the oft derided Redbird staff in 2003, and there's no reason to believe they will do much better this season. The Cubs had a chance to eat this team's starters alive, and they failed miserably.
As a lone bright spot from yesterday's debacle, witness the fine performance turned in by one Samuel Peralta Sosa. It wasn't just that he went 3-4 with 2 doubles and a home run, it was how he did it that was important.
Sammy spent much of last season trying to pull everything, an affliction that most of the team suffered from then and now. However, yesterday saw him work with what he was given, taking the two doubles strong to the right center field gap, and pulling the one ball he got on the inner half into the seats.
Alex Gonzalez, in particular, should be taking notes. He has reverted to the form that saw him post a .193/.282/.375 line after the 2003 All-Star break, trying to pull every single pitch no matter how far outside. If it hasn't happened already, someone needs to sit Gonzo down and tell him that he won't see a hittable pitch on the inner half all year, and that he needs to act accordingly. If he's not willing to go the other way, he will be a detriment to the team, no matter how good his glove is.
But enough of the doom and gloom. Tonight we see Horacio Ramirez, a lefty who gets smacked around by right-handers to the tune of a .278/.347/.463 line, and who the Cubs devoured whole last season, scoring 7 runs off of him in 3.2 innings. He may be just what this team needs to break things open.