Thursday, May 12, 2005

He just wanted to make it look dramatic

Warning! Technical Baseball Rant!
The Red Sox, for the second day in a row, beat the A's with a two-run walk-off homerun. While I am glad that Sox were able to come back and win the game, I can't help but think they shouldn't have had to. I love Keith Foulke as much as the next guy for his lights-out 14 innings in the playoffs last year, and he is still a huge asset to have. After his abysmal start, he has shown signs of promise and a few textbook saves to reaffirm my faith in him. However, he blew a 3 run lead last night when he came on needing only 3 outs with nobody on base. He capped it off with a 2-run homer to Eric "I like to push the catcher to the ground before I get to home plate" Byrnes on the eighth pitch of the at bat, when Foulke grooved a slider belt-high on the outside of the plate. My question is, why the hell did he throw a slider there? The man has lived and died over his career by the success of his change-up and fastball combination. Apparently, he felt over the offseason and in spring training to add a third pitch, a slider, to make his arsenal that much stronger. The problem? His slider sucks. His arm angle looks incredibly different from his normal "dart throwing" delivery, the ball moves only about a quarter of the way across the plate, and the limited movement looks flat. He threw, as best as I could tell, five sliders in the inning, and those led to a 2-run single and a 2-run homer. I realize Foulke wants another strikeout pitch, because it is hard to blow one by a guy when you top out at 88 miles per hour, and he the speed difference between that and his change up has been a bit reduced this year (allowing more guys to foul off the pitches they guess wrong on). But for the love of God, Foulke needs to abandon the slider. If he wants to work on it and perfect it, more power to him; but I think he should remember the mantra he always heard when he played for Chicago: Wait till next year.


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