Wednesday, May 03, 2006

When Irish Arms Are Hurlin'

Mike O'Connor won his first major league game, 6-2, and also (perhaps more importantly?) his first Majority Whip with his masterful seven inning performance yesterday. He made one mistake -- a changeup right down Broadway -- but other than that was almost dominant. He struck out six Mets, and allowed just two hits. He walked just two -- one of those a semi-intentional pass of David Wright.

O'Connor seemed to have much better command of his fastball today. It doesn't break 87, but he was able to spot it, nailing the corners repeatedly. (Truthfully, he was helped by an overwhelmed homeplate ump). But O'Connor hasn't succeeded because of his fastball, but because of his curve and his change. He's got a hard curve which fools batters. And he's able to throw it consistently for strikes. He really tied Carlos Delgado up with it several times, dropping it on the inside corner as Delgado's knees flinched and he leaned back.

Ron Darling (was that him?) who broadcasts for the Mets made a good point, which was amplified by some of the Mets hitters in post-game reaction. His delivery is pretty funky. I mentioned that after his last start, but Darling was able to explain what it is. He draws the arm all the way back so that it's completely behind his body, but when he comes forward, he sticks his plant leg way out in front and lurches over it as if he was a pole vaulter. In doing so, his arm comes way up and over his entire body like some sort of gangly trebuchet.

He mixed up his speeds well enough, and threw enough strikes to keep the Mets down. Two starts, two great performances. Whoda thunk it?

In today's must-read, Federal Baseball says that Bill James might've thunk it. He relates how and old Bill James quote about a former Expo could apply to O'Connor's performance today.

  • Jose Guillen and Jose Vidro didn't get starts, although Guillen pinch hit later in the game, getting a critical RBI grounder, but going 0-2. Daryle Ward and Marlon Anderson started in their place and combined for 2 hits and a walk.

  • Nick Johnson continues to slide, although he did get a key hit and scored a run. Johnson's gotten awfully passive again, and he seems to be taking too many pitches on the inside corner (call it Ryan Church syndrome). When he was going really well, those were the pitches that NJ was turning on and driving. Now they're just floating by.

  • Royce Clayton continues to look terrible. He flailed out terribly twice against Mets starter John Maine (who really had nothing last night). He's better than Guzman last year, but 2006 Guzman (assuming health!) would've been better, too. We simply need more production out of that spot.

  • The other news from that game was the defenestration of Gary Majewski. It's been coming for days, but Frank has made it official. He's lost his job as setup man. Mike Stanton now takes over the role. Despite him pitching well recently, I can't see Stanton succeeding in that role, especially as he'll likely face more righties in critical situations.
    Robinson said he is not casting Majewski aside, but the manager said he can't afford to wait for the right-hander to improve at the Major League level.

    "This is not a threat, but if we send him down to New Orleans, he can maybe get himself relaxed and straighten out. We are not to that point yet," Robinson said. "It has nothing to do with his mechanics, [it's more mental]. He is not thinking out there. He does not understand the situation."

    Majewski seems to understand, and it's a good sign. If he can string together a few good outings, he should have a chance to get out of Frank's doghouse before they ship him to St Louis for Junior Spivey.
    "You can't worry about anything like that," he said. "You can only go out and do what you can every day. You can't get worried about being sent down. You have to go out and just pitch."

  • Pedro Astacio had a bit of a setback. He had more pain and had another MRI, so doctors have shut him down for 2-3 more days. It's going to be a month or so before we seem him back.

  • The DC Council passed toothless legislation requiring Comcast to carry Nats games in the District, despite there apparently being some sort of Federal law against it. Just A Nats Fan -- who is clearly sick in the head! -- liveblogged the hearing, catching DC Gov't at the height of absurdity. Legislation with no real enforcement mechanism, and which seemingly breaks federal law is SURE to bring Angelos and Comcast to their knees. For all the hand-wringing about "Schools and Children" that the professional protestors/complainers in this city do, there's an awful lot of meaningless, symbolic drivel, such as this, that their gov't takes up.


    Post a Comment

    << Home