Sigh Young and Mr. Cy Young
I had the pleasure of watching two pitchers with distinctly different approaches and stuff dominate opponents on Monday. On a night in which Pedro Martinez won his 200th game and Jose Contreras combined with two relievers to throw a one-hit shutout, I witnessed the young and inconsistent Daniel Cabrera and the wily veteran Greg Maddux carve up and beat the two Los Angeles franchises in convincing fashion.
Cabrera entered the game with 16 walks in 6 1/3 innings. You might say he had been the Rocky Horror Pitcher Show in his first two outings. He left Monday's contest with 17 BB in 13 1/3 IP. The 6-foot-7, 258-pound right-hander yielded his only walk with two outs in the seventh. He permitted just one runner past second base through six innings and the only run allowed was on a passed ball by Ramon Hernandez. His mechanics were outstanding, employing a nice and easy delivery with a mostly consistent release point throughout the game. Cabrera's fastball sat in the mid- to high-90s and topped out at 99.
Maddux, on the other hand, was working in the low-80s, mixing two-seam fastballs with curves and changeups. The four-time Cy Young award winner, who turned 40 last Friday, put on a pitching clinic. He proved that a pitcher can win by throwing strikes, painting the corners, keeping the ball down, and changing speeds. The Professor retired the first nine batters he faced and also got the sides out in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. He won his 321st game in less than two hours and is off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 1994. Oh, Maddux also went 1-for-3, scored a run and had an RBI. In addition, he showed everyone why he has won the Gold Glove for 16 consecutive years by fielding his position superbly and picking Rafael Furcal off second base.
Here are the pitching lines for Cabrera and Maddux:
IP H R ER BB SO
Cabrera 7 5 1 0 1 6
Maddux 8 3 1 1 0 6
I charted Cabrera's outing vs. the Angels. He threw 106 pitches, including 70 strikes. (FB stands for fastball, CB for curveball, and SL for slider.)
Figgins: Ball in the dirt (FB), Ball (FB), Strike looking (FB-95), Foul (FB-96), Foul (FB-96), Figgins struck out swinging (CB-83).
Cabrera: Strike looking (FB-96), Ball (SL-93), Foul (FB-97), Foul (FB-96), Cabrera grounded out to shortstop (CB-83).
Guerrero: Ball (FB-95), Guerrero grounded out to third (FB-94).
Anderson: Strike looking (CB-83), Strike looking (FB-96), Ball (FB-96), Ball that hit catcher's target just outside (FB-97), Long foul down the RF line (SL-86), Anderson flied out to deep left (FB-97).
Erstad: Strike looking (FB-99), Ball (SL-86), Strike looking (CB-84), Ball (FB-96), Erstad grounded out to first (FB).
Kotchman: Strike looking on the inside corner (FB-92), Strike looking down and away on the outside corner (FB-97), Foul (FB-98), Ball (FB), Kotchman fouled out to third (CB).
Kennedy: Ball (FB), Foul (FB-95), Kennedy flied out to left (FB-97).
Molina: Strike swinging (FB-96), Ball (FB-96), Foul (FB-96), Ball (FB-98), Ball in the dirt (SL-88), Molina struck out swinging on a pitch up and out of the strike zone (FB-97).
Izturis: Ball (FB), Ball (FB), Strike looking (FB), Ball well inside (FB), Strike looking (FB-95), Foul (FB-96), Izturis reached on an infield single off the glove of Roberts (FB).
Figgins: Figgins popped out to third (FB-96).
Cabrera: Ball (FB-95), Ball (FB-94), Strike looking (FB-96), Strike swinging (FB-96), Ball high (FB-98), Cabrera grounded out to pitcher on a low pitch out of the strike zone (FB-97).
Guerrero: Foul (FB-95), Strike swinging down and away (SL), Ball (SL-86), Guerrero reached on an infield single with Tejada showing a lack of range (FB).
Anderson: Strike looking (CB-84), Strike looking (FB-96), Anderson singled to right on an 0-2 pitch above the belt and right down the middle (FB-96), Guerrero to second.
Erstad: Ball (FB-98), Strike looking (SL-86), Ball (FB-96), Foul (CB-84), Erstad struck out swinging on a low and away great "pitcher's pitch" (FB-96).
Kotchman: Strike looking (CB-85), Kotchman flied out to left (FB-96).
Kennedy: Strike swinging (FB), Ball (CB-85), Foul (FB-97), Kennedy lined out to first (SL-89).
Molina: Strike looking (FB-96), Ball (FB), Molina flied out to the warning track in LF (FB-96).
Izturis: Strike looking (FB-96), Strike swinging (SL-87), Izturis struck out looking (FB-98).
Figgins: Ball (FB), Strike looking (FB-94), Strike swinging (SL-88), Figgins struck out swinging when the ball was already in the catcher's glove (FB-98).
Cabrera: Ball in the dirt (CB-84), Foul (FB-96), Foul in on the hands (FB-97), Ball (SL-87), Ball just missed outside (FB-98), Cabrera popped out to shortstop (FB-97).
Guerrero: Guerrero grounded out to shortstop on a ball that was a full foot inside (FB-95).
Anderson: Ball in the dirt (CB-84), Anderson singled past a diving Roberts just right of 2B (FB-96).
Erstad: Ball (FB-94), Strike swinging (FB-95), Strike swinging...totally overmatched (FB-95), Erstad singled to left center, fighting off a pitch late (FB-95), Anderson to second.
Kotchman: Kotchman grounded out to pitcher (FB-96), Anderson to third, Erstad to second.
Kennedy: Strike looking (CB), Foul (CB-84), Ball (FB-95), Foul (FB-96), Kennedy struck out on a lazy swing and miss...ball popped out of the glove of Hernandez, who tags Kennedy to complete the out (FB-97).
Molina: Strike looking (FB-94), Ball (SL), Ball (CB-85), Ball high and tight (FB-95), Molina walked (FB-94).
Izturis: Ball (FB), Anderson scored, Erstad to third, Molina to second on passed ball, Izturis lined out to center (FB).
Cabrera left the game with the Orioles leading the Angels, 4-1. Latroy Hawkins and Chris Ray preserved Cabrera's first victory of the season, a huge confidence booster for the man with as much potential as any pitcher in baseball.
Ray picked up his fifth save of the campaign and impressed me in doing so. His fastball was timed at 95 and 96 with one pitch supposedly touching 99 on the radar gun. He has a hurried windup and his 3/4-arm angle is likely to cause problems for right-handed batters.
* * * * *
Although I didn't chart Maddux's pitches, I have included his pitch-by-pitch log vs. the Dodgers below (courtesy of Sportsline.com).
Furcal: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Furcal grounded out to second.
Lofton: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Lofton struck out swinging.
Cruz Jr.: Strike looking, Cruz grounded out to pitcher.
Drew: Ball, Drew grounded out to first.
Saenz: Strike looking, Saenz flied out to center.
Mueller: Ball, Mueller grounded out to first.
Robles: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Robles grounded out to second.
Navarro: Ball, Strike looking, Navarro popped out to third.
Tomko: Strike swinging, Strike looking, Ball, Tomko struck out looking.
Furcal: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Foul, Furcal singled to center.
Lofton: Lofton sacrificed to catcher, Furcal to second.
Cruz Jr.: Furcal picked off at third, pitcher to shortstop to third, Cruz flied out to center.
Drew: Drew singled to center.
Saenz: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Saenz flied out to center.
Mueller: Ball, Foul, Pickoff attempt, Mueller doubled to deep left, Drew scored.
Robles: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Robles struck out looking.
Navarro: Ball, Ball, Navarro grounded out to second.
Repko: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Repko struck out looking.
Furcal: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Furcal grounded out to third.
Lofton: Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Foul, Lofton struck out swinging.
Cruz Jr.: Strike (missed bunt), Strike swinging, Cruz flied out to center.
Drew: Ball, Foul, Drew flied out to deep right.
Saenz: Saenz lined out to third.
Mueller: Mueller grounded out to second.
Robles: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Robles grounded out to second.
Navarro: Strike looking, Strike looking, Navarro struck out looking.
Maddux was seemingly breezing through eight innings, throwing just 85 pitches (including 57 strikes). However, Dusty Baker brought in Ryan Dempster to work the ninth, presumably managing to the save rule--something I will never understand.
Cabrera and Maddux. A contrast in styles. But exhibits A and B as to how pitchers can win in the major leagues. The common thread yesterday was throwing strikes. Maddux has been known to do that his entire career. If Cabrera can reduce the number of free passes allowed, he could be on the verge of a big year.