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Thursday, April 12, 2001

Maddux flirts with perfection

I’ve read some theories that Maddux would not be as effective with the new strike zone. That Maddux was only as good as he was because he got the extra 5 inches off the outside corner. I guess that theory is wrong.

The Original Gary Posted: April 12, 2001 at 01:44 PM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. The Original Gary Posted: April 12, 2001 at 04:51 PM (#66663)
I didn't see the game either, but I saw the highlights on ESPN. From what they showed, his ball had incredible movement. Of course, they only showed a few pitches. I have been surprised all spring at the number of remarks implying that Maddux has been successful because he gets a wider plate. He takes what the umps give him. If the new strike zone is adhered to, Maddux will adjust and still hit his spots and change speeds. Give him his due.
   2. The Original Gary Posted: April 12, 2001 at 04:51 PM (#67120)
I didn't see the game either, but I saw the highlights on ESPN. From what they showed, his ball had incredible movement. Of course, they only showed a few pitches. I have been surprised all spring at the number of remarks implying that Maddux has been successful because he gets a wider plate. He takes what the umps give him. If the new strike zone is adhered to, Maddux will adjust and still hit his spots and change speeds. Give him his due.
   3. The Original Gary Posted: April 12, 2001 at 04:51 PM (#67906)
I didn't see the game either, but I saw the highlights on ESPN. From what they showed, his ball had incredible movement. Of course, they only showed a few pitches. I have been surprised all spring at the number of remarks implying that Maddux has been successful because he gets a wider plate. He takes what the umps give him. If the new strike zone is adhered to, Maddux will adjust and still hit his spots and change speeds. Give him his due.
   4. scruff Posted: April 12, 2001 at 05:04 PM (#66665)
Nightengale's article in Baseball Weekly this week talks about how Randy Johnson is being hurt by not getting the outside strike. It makes sense when you think about it, as his pitches tend to start outside and come in on a righty, which is what makes him practically unhittable if you are a lefty hitter, because a pitch that looks it coming right at you ends up over the plate for a strike. His getting lit on Sunday (worst start since 1994 if I remember correctly) is decent evidence that they are not giving that pitch anymore. He did pitch well against LA in the opener though.

From what I've read (I know it's only a week and a half in), the impression I get is that they aren't giving the outside pitch too much anymore.
   5. scruff Posted: April 12, 2001 at 05:04 PM (#67122)
Nightengale's article in Baseball Weekly this week talks about how Randy Johnson is being hurt by not getting the outside strike. It makes sense when you think about it, as his pitches tend to start outside and come in on a righty, which is what makes him practically unhittable if you are a lefty hitter, because a pitch that looks it coming right at you ends up over the plate for a strike. His getting lit on Sunday (worst start since 1994 if I remember correctly) is decent evidence that they are not giving that pitch anymore. He did pitch well against LA in the opener though.

From what I've read (I know it's only a week and a half in), the impression I get is that they aren't giving the outside pitch too much anymore.
   6. scruff Posted: April 12, 2001 at 05:04 PM (#67908)
Nightengale's article in Baseball Weekly this week talks about how Randy Johnson is being hurt by not getting the outside strike. It makes sense when you think about it, as his pitches tend to start outside and come in on a righty, which is what makes him practically unhittable if you are a lefty hitter, because a pitch that looks it coming right at you ends up over the plate for a strike. His getting lit on Sunday (worst start since 1994 if I remember correctly) is decent evidence that they are not giving that pitch anymore. He did pitch well against LA in the opener though.

From what I've read (I know it's only a week and a half in), the impression I get is that they aren't giving the outside pitch too much anymore.
   7. Darren Posted: April 12, 2001 at 05:09 PM (#66667)
David--

My thoughts exactly.

Further, I don't think anyone is questioning whether or not Maddux would be able to adjust. But how effective would he be after making those adjustments. If his high 80s, low 90s fastball has to move too close to the middle of the plate, he could be in trouble.
   8. Darren Posted: April 12, 2001 at 05:09 PM (#67124)
David--

My thoughts exactly.

Further, I don't think anyone is questioning whether or not Maddux would be able to adjust. But how effective would he be after making those adjustments. If his high 80s, low 90s fastball has to move too close to the middle of the plate, he could be in trouble.
   9. Darren Posted: April 12, 2001 at 05:09 PM (#67910)
David--

My thoughts exactly.

Further, I don't think anyone is questioning whether or not Maddux would be able to adjust. But how effective would he be after making those adjustments. If his high 80s, low 90s fastball has to move too close to the middle of the plate, he could be in trouble.
   10. The Original Gary Posted: April 12, 2001 at 06:33 PM (#66668)
If Maddux could consistently hit the spot 5 inches off the plate, I see no reason why he won't be able to hit the corner now. The guy has impeccable control and it does not matter if he only throws in the high 80's; it's the movement he gets on his pitch that makes him so tough to hit, along with keeping hitters off balance.
   11. The Original Gary Posted: April 12, 2001 at 06:33 PM (#67125)
If Maddux could consistently hit the spot 5 inches off the plate, I see no reason why he won't be able to hit the corner now. The guy has impeccable control and it does not matter if he only throws in the high 80's; it's the movement he gets on his pitch that makes him so tough to hit, along with keeping hitters off balance.
   12. The Original Gary Posted: April 12, 2001 at 06:33 PM (#67911)
If Maddux could consistently hit the spot 5 inches off the plate, I see no reason why he won't be able to hit the corner now. The guy has impeccable control and it does not matter if he only throws in the high 80's; it's the movement he gets on his pitch that makes him so tough to hit, along with keeping hitters off balance.
   13. scruff Posted: April 12, 2001 at 09:18 PM (#66669)
I don't think Maddux hitting the corner now would be the problem either. But now that he might have to hit a corner that's a few inches closer to the plate and the hitter, his pitches might be easier to hit, which is the bigger issue. When he was off by two inches in the past, he'd still be three inches off the plate. Assuming he's trying to hit a spot on the edge of the the plate, when he's off by two inches now, it's right over the plate, which could be a problem.
   14. scruff Posted: April 12, 2001 at 09:18 PM (#67126)
I don't think Maddux hitting the corner now would be the problem either. But now that he might have to hit a corner that's a few inches closer to the plate and the hitter, his pitches might be easier to hit, which is the bigger issue. When he was off by two inches in the past, he'd still be three inches off the plate. Assuming he's trying to hit a spot on the edge of the the plate, when he's off by two inches now, it's right over the plate, which could be a problem.
   15. scruff Posted: April 12, 2001 at 09:18 PM (#67912)
I don't think Maddux hitting the corner now would be the problem either. But now that he might have to hit a corner that's a few inches closer to the plate and the hitter, his pitches might be easier to hit, which is the bigger issue. When he was off by two inches in the past, he'd still be three inches off the plate. Assuming he's trying to hit a spot on the edge of the the plate, when he's off by two inches now, it's right over the plate, which could be a problem.
   16. Robert Dudek Posted: April 12, 2001 at 10:16 PM (#66670)
Greg Maddux is a great pitcher for the following 3 reasons:

1) He has pinpoint control - not only in terms of not walking guys but also not grooving pitches.

2) His pitches all have incredible movement. I've never seem him through a "straight" pitch.

3) He knows how to keep the hitters off balance.

If it is true that the strike-zone has changed shape and become taller and thinner, I think Maddux is the type of pitcher (along with the high 95 MPH fastball types) who can adjust fairly easily. He has such great control that instead of working the corners he'll start to go up and down more. I have a pet theory that it's harder for a hitter to cover the strike-zone vertically than horizontally. We'll see how the new strike zone affects offensive levels, but the early returns suggest that walks are going to be dramatically down. Maddux might end up walking less than a man per 9 innings.

Of course he is getting older, so a loss of even 1 or 2 MPH off his pitches will make it much more difficult for him to be dominant. However, barring injury, I think Maddux has at least 4 more excellent seasons in him.
   17. Robert Dudek Posted: April 12, 2001 at 10:16 PM (#67127)
Greg Maddux is a great pitcher for the following 3 reasons:

1) He has pinpoint control - not only in terms of not walking guys but also not grooving pitches.

2) His pitches all have incredible movement. I've never seem him through a "straight" pitch.

3) He knows how to keep the hitters off balance.

If it is true that the strike-zone has changed shape and become taller and thinner, I think Maddux is the type of pitcher (along with the high 95 MPH fastball types) who can adjust fairly easily. He has such great control that instead of working the corners he'll start to go up and down more. I have a pet theory that it's harder for a hitter to cover the strike-zone vertically than horizontally. We'll see how the new strike zone affects offensive levels, but the early returns suggest that walks are going to be dramatically down. Maddux might end up walking less than a man per 9 innings.

Of course he is getting older, so a loss of even 1 or 2 MPH off his pitches will make it much more difficult for him to be dominant. However, barring injury, I think Maddux has at least 4 more excellent seasons in him.
   18. Robert Dudek Posted: April 12, 2001 at 10:16 PM (#67913)
Greg Maddux is a great pitcher for the following 3 reasons:

1) He has pinpoint control - not only in terms of not walking guys but also not grooving pitches.

2) His pitches all have incredible movement. I've never seem him through a "straight" pitch.

3) He knows how to keep the hitters off balance.

If it is true that the strike-zone has changed shape and become taller and thinner, I think Maddux is the type of pitcher (along with the high 95 MPH fastball types) who can adjust fairly easily. He has such great control that instead of working the corners he'll start to go up and down more. I have a pet theory that it's harder for a hitter to cover the strike-zone vertically than horizontally. We'll see how the new strike zone affects offensive levels, but the early returns suggest that walks are going to be dramatically down. Maddux might end up walking less than a man per 9 innings.

Of course he is getting older, so a loss of even 1 or 2 MPH off his pitches will make it much more difficult for him to be dominant. However, barring injury, I think Maddux has at least 4 more excellent seasons in him.

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