Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Moment in Time

I know it took place about 1000 years ago in blogging/internet time, but I witnessed something special on Friday night during the Jays/Red Sox game (which I was liveblogging.) Love and love collided when Brandon League came in to pitch the 7th inning with the outcome of the game hardly in doubt. It didn't matter though, as the first batter he faced was none other than Rocco Baldelli. ZOMG!

I was very conflicted; what should I hope to happen? The game was pretty much over given the Sox bullpen dominance and Rocco was having a tough time at the plate. A meaningless insurance home run wouldn't hurt anybody, right? I think the best scenario would be the the one laid out by Ian the Blue Jay Hunter, who said (allow me to embellish) that Rocco should go down and get a tough League fastball, ripping it down the third base line for Scott Rolen to make an incredible diving play! This website would have spontaneously combusted and ceased to be. It didn't really play out that way, because Brandon League was AMAZING on Friday night. To the graph paper!

League v. Rocco, a five pitch battle for the ages
Your eyes do not deceive you. Brandon League threw only 1 fastball to Rocco, right down the middle. The other four pitches were his off speed pitch, whatever you believe it to be. Sinker? Slider? Curve? Change? The pitch f/x algorithm sure can't figure it out. Neither could Rocco, who swung at two nice whatevertheyares just below the strike zone after League threw one that even the ump couldn't make sense of so he called it a ball. How about we look at League's velocity versus horizontal movement for the whole inning, which included a two pitch ground out and a strike out of JD Drew?

League entire outing, July 17 v. Boston
I'm not very smart, so I don't know what to label the breaking pitch. Is it a changeup? Sort of, it moves laterally at a speed similar to Halladay's change, though the vertical movement is all different. Sometimes Pitch f/x thinks it's a cutter, sure whatever, though I don't think Brandon League throws with his left hand half the time. Is is the very same pitch he heaves normally, just at 80% effort? Brandon League is a pretty eXXXtreme dude, I don't think he does anything at 80% effort. TO THE MAX!

It could be anything, but whatever it was against the Red Sox on Friday, it worked. It was highly effective because it was thrown around the strikezone! Will wonders ever cease?

You may suggest this is an asinine waste of time, getting excited over an 11 pitch sample. You'd be correct, but I still wouldn't care. Rocco went down against a better man on this day, one I hope we'll see again soon.


  1. To be honest, man, I thought of you during the League/Rocco encounter. And that's kind of ridiculous.

  2. Talk about battle of the Mancrush All-Stars! You must've been so conflicted, but ultimately at least one of the mancrushes was victorious.

  3. I think it's amazing that you thought of me! Flattered of course.

    I was conflicted but knew I couldn't lose.

  4. I only ever see League throw his sinker and his split which kinda behaves a bit like a change but with way more sink-his I mean.
    Also, I never see Roy throw change-ups. He threw like 5 a couple of years ago but seems to have shelved it. Maybe throws one for a ball every couple of weeks. But only when I'm not looking?

  5. Splitter eh? Good call, I hadn't really thought of that. Neither has the algorithm.

    Halladay throws a change sometimes, it also could be him taking something off his sinker/two seamer? I'm new to this...

  6. I've noticed that Halladay changes speeds on his sinker to the difference of 4-6 mph at times. He did throw a straight change a couple of seasons ago but only for a ball. Unless I missed something-which is very possible-he hasn't used it in a while. To be honest, and I know this sounds impossible when talking about Roy, but his change was below average. It floated as opposed to not getting there. I'm sure he'll have it mastered soon though...

  7. I also made the anon comment-faster than signing in...


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