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!
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?
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.