In which I was able to see multiple replays of Bradley's AB
We still have some work to do before we can call ourselves a division-winning team, let alone a 110-win team. Kurt is right, Soto is getting a free pass so far. Not any longer. I never thought I would say this, but so far this spring, we're a better team with Three-Finger Hill. And as for Marshall, maybe a lot of teams would LOVE to get five innings from their fifth starters. But pennant contenders are going to need a lot more than that, and I hope Marshall isn't satisfied with his first start. I'm not.
Watching the highlights on the 6 o'clock news can be dangerous. All I was able to see was the last pitch in the Bradley sequence, which at first glance was miserable, and I came out here and spouted off about it. Then, I was fortunate enough to not only see the mopes on "Baseball Tonight" break down the sequence, but in a strange twist of fate, I bopped over one channel to FSN Midwest (St. Louis), where no doubt they re-ran the game all night long, and it was right at Bradley's AB with the count 3-0. Remember, bases loaded, one out, tie game.
On 3-0, the ump rang him up on a pitch 3 inches inside and low. Well, ok, you figure Bradley's been struggling, the Cubs have been the beneficiaries of several bases-loaded walks lately, and it was a ball. Fair enough, he took it, and the ump called it a strike anyway, which suggests to one and all that maybe there's a little history right here between the two human beings.
Let's briefly skip over to strike three, which the smug c-suckers on FSN Midwest were just RAVING about. Today in St. Louie, they're singing the praises of the Brave Adam Wainright, who fought back from 3-0 with bases loaded with two "pitchers" pitches, and a "gutsy call" for the big curve. Hey, it WAS a gutsy call, and yes, the curve DID break a good foot and a half. It was also inside.
But here's what I came out here this morning to bitch about - what about Strike 2? The only strike Wainright threw in the sequence? Yes, it was a 'pitchers pitch', on the low inside corner of the plate. The part of the strike zone where Ted Williams liked the least, I still vividly see his diagrams of the zone, along with the colored baseballs that signify his 'hot' zones and 'cold' zones. That lower corner was one of his cold zones, no pun intended, cryogenic boy.
But as for Milton, dude, 3-1 is also considered to be a 'hitters count' in decent society. And we're paying you $10 million this year, along with the next two, to hit the baseball on hitters counts. It was a good pitch, but you're supposedly a good hitter, and based on the events of strike one, you know the ump ain't giving you dick, so you know you're not going to get the call. Like last year when I went off on Derrek Lee for habitually waiting for walks when aggressiveness was called for, I am calling YOU out today, Anger Boy, for sitting like a lump and watching that pitch go by. TAKE CHARGE, dammit!! Make the decision that you are going to make something happen with that bat, and put that thing in play, preferably somewhere in the outfield.
I guess Lee is starting to hit again, so there is still hope that Bradley (and Soto) isn't going to hit .050 all year. But so far, all we have to work with is what we've seen, and we're damn lucky to have won 5 games.