March 11, 2009

Buchholz Learning From Smoltz

Clay Buchholz pitched three perfect innings yesterday and later said that John Smoltz has been helping him with the mental aspect of the game.
He sat down [before my start] and said, "Hey, anything that you need to know?" He said he feels like he's been in the same position as me early in his career as far as people telling you, "Hey, you've got really good stuff. You need to learn how to use it." It's been good so far having him. ...

It was the best outing I've had in a long time. ... I do believe that anybody that goes out there and is getting outs whenever they're throwing the right pitch, it's easy to pitch that way. It's when adversity strikes, like in between those [good] innings, when you know what kind of pitcher you are.
As impressive as his pitching has been this spring, it's hearing Buchholz talk about his mental state (having confidence amid adversity, not letting problems snowball) that is perhaps most encouraging. (Justin Masterson says he has also benefited from Smoltz's influence this spring.)

Mike Lowell (1-for-3) was happy with his first game of the spring:
Things felt fast -- like your plate discipline is a little bit behind. I swung at an 0-2 pitch that probably wasn't the best pitch to swing at. ... [Playing third for three or four innings on Friday] will be more of a test. I'm not anticipating any problems, but yeah, that little bounce you do right before every pitch, there's going to be a lot of them. ... I think this was step one and playing the field is step two, and then we'll get to the endurance part of just being able to go the whole game and not think about the hip.
Brad Penny will pitch in a game on Friday, but it will be an intrasquad contest at the minor league complex. Penny threw 20 pitches of BP yesterday and is hoping to get into an actual game next week.

Jason Bay is back in camp. While in Toronto for the WBC, he watched Shawn Horcoff score two goals to lead Edmonton over the the Maple Leafs. Horcoff's mother shared the same hospital room with Bay's mother when the women gave birth three days apart in 1978.

David Ortiz will be returning as well, as the Netherlands beat the Dominican Republic for a second time, single-handedly pushing them out of the WBC. The DR broke a scoreless tie with a run in the top of the 11th inning, but the Dutch scored two in the bottom half to win -- and advance to Round 2.

The Red Sox are off today. Josh Beckett, Justin Masterson and Michael Bowden will pitch against the Cardinals on Thursday.

57 comments:

FenFan said...

Who knew that the Netherlands was such a baseball juggernaut? Seriously, though, I caught both games and it was solid entertainment. Even more interesting when you compare the numbers like ESPN did. "Down goes the Dominican!"

The good news for Sox fans down at Fort Myers is that Big Papi and Jay-Bay will be back in the lineups soon.

Ish said...

I thoroughly enjoyed last night's Netherlands/Dominican game. Fantastic baseball. It was one of those games that if it was during the MLB regular season, you'd still remember it.

nixon33 said...

Not wanting to offend anyone who is well into the WBC (I've been watching most of the games) BUT, I'm glad that Canada & DR lost. Get Papi and Bay back in camp (especially Papi). I'm torn on the US front, I want them to win... sure, but I dread Youks and Little Man getting hurt, especially the way they play all out.

Josh Wilker said...

Man, that's encouraging news about Buchholz. I remember many years ago hearing about how Smoltz's work with a sports psychologist turned him into an ace.

Also: Go Holland! The dudes can play a little honkball.

Sabrina said...

Even if Smoltz turns out to be a bust pitching-wise (and I think that unlikely!), having him mentor the young guys will pay dividends in the very near future. Great investment by the front office!

Benjamin said...

Who cares whether Youk and FY play in the WBC or in the Grapefruit League? They're playing exhibition games either way, with the same potential risks and benefits.

Benjamin said...

CC got hammered against Detroit this afternoon. With any luck, he'll realize he's gotten his payday, his arm will be a pool of melted crisco by the time this contract expires, and there's no reason to try whatsoever.

VEN - 0
USA -

Benjamin said...

Miguel Cabrera robs FY with a diving catch on a line drive.

Benjamin said...

Jeter grounds out to short but runs through the first base bag before jogging back to the dugout. With aplomb and class.

Benjamin said...

VEN - 0
USA - 0

Benjamin said...

VEN - 00
USA - 0

Youk walks. His GDGD photo reflects the new shorn look (only his soulpatch remaining).

9casey said...

Here are some of the reasons why the WBC is a waste of time, and i am suprised so many people enjoy it...I love baseball as much as the next guy but when professionals play something that is an exhibition , I believe it loses a certain edge....

Here are some of the rules:

Rules
A pitcher cannot pitch until

a minimum of three days have passed since he last pitched, if he threw 50 or more pitches when he last pitched.
a minimum of one day has passed since he last pitched, if he threw 30 or more pitches when he last pitched.
a minimum of one day has passed since any second consecutive day on which the pitcher pitched.
A pitcher cannot pitch more than

70 pitches per game in Round One of the tournament.
85 pitches per game in Round Two of the tournament.
100 pitches per game in the Semifinals and Final of the tournament.
A pitcher can still finish a batter's plate appearance even if the limit is reached, but must come out after completing the plate appearance.
A game will be a called game if the leading team is ahead by

10 or more runs when the opposing team has batted in at least seven innings.
15 or more runs when the opposing team has batted in at least five innings.
The Designated Hitter rule applies for all games.


How can anyone say this is baseball?

Have you heard what they will do if there is a tie?

The ridiculed international rule to start an extra inning with two runners on base will be used at this year's World Baseball Classic, where it will be implemented beginning in the 13th.

Under the rule, each half-inning starting with the 13th will begin with runners on first and second. The regular batting order will be used from where it was the previous inning.

Benjamin said...

VEN - 00
USA - 00

Benjamin said...

Blanco dong. Blanco double. Fortunately for Lilly, Venezuela only has two Blancos.

Benjamin said...

VEN - 001
USA - 00

Benjamin said...

Braun ties it on a double to right.

VEN - 001 0
USA - 000 1

Benjamin said...

The Blancos keep coming, with a double and triple to score a run. If the USA loses, the headlines will say "USA BLANCked"

Benjamin said...

VEN - 001 01
USA - 000 1

Benjamin said...

Venezuela tacks on another couple on a Scutaro liner to left field. 4-1 VEN.

Benjamin said...

How can anyone say this is baseball?

It's spring training with an international vestments and haberdashery. You don't think pitchers are on strict pitch counts and innings limitations in spring training? Heck, some spring training games aren't even scheduled to take nine innings.

Benjamin said...

Unfortunately our guys have only contributed one walk combined tonight.

redsock said...

However, that 13th inning+ rule is seriously fucked up. Could we please leave shootouts and other such shit to the other sports, pls?

Go VEN!

Benjamin said...

They should end tied games with a home-run derby. That'd be ratings gold.

Benjamin said...

Blanco walks two and gets yanked. I failed to account for the possibility that there'd be more Blancos in the pen.

Benjamin said...

And by "walk two", I mean "give up a single and a walk". These definitions are important.

Benjamin said...

VEN - 001 012
USA - 000 100

Benjamin said...

MLB Network promo: "And we'll have Randy Johnson on why he chose San Francisco."

Because he never wants to get those last five wins to reach 300.

Benjamin said...

Past a diving Youkilis. :(

Benjamin said...

"In this whole Moneyball era, giving up an out is not necessarily good."

You don't say.

Benjamin said...

I miss the deadball era when the winner was the team who made the most outs the fastest. Ty Cobb once set a record by giving up 54 outs in just one game.

Benjamin said...

5-1 VEN.

Benjamin said...

Do these steroids-will-shrink-your-balls PSAs work? It seems like folks either know that and don't care or don't know it and aren't using them.

Benjamin said...

Ball shrinkage is also one of the least permanent and most superficial of steroids' negative side effects.

Benjamin said...

Jeter swings but gets a HBP anyway. He's that good.

Benjamin said...

VEN - 001 012 1
USA - 000 100 0

Benjamin said...

Chavez thrown out at home on an infield fielder's choice. Still 5-1.

Benjamin said...

The Blanco hit parade continues.

vrictare said...

ARGH! Fricking Blancos!

Benjamin said...

That one isn't coming back. 5-3 VEN.

Benjamin said...

Jeter reaches on an error and gets thrown out trying to steal second. You can't teach that.

Benjamin said...

VEN - 001 012 100
USA - 000 100 020

FY went 0-5.
Youk went 0-4 with a walk.

Benjamin said...

By which I mean:

VEN - 001 012 100 - 5 12 1
USA - 000 100 020 - 3 07 0

andy said...

Jeter is the Anti-Dave Roberts.

Benjamin said...

Dave Roberts didn't have a guy sitting on third base when he made THE STEAL. I haven't managed to find the win expectancy tables on such a situation, but let's stipulate that they're ridiculously shitty.

Jere said...

why does Nix care if he offends people?

And benjamin said in response to 9case:

"You don't think pitchers are on strict pitch counts and innings limitations in spring training? Heck, some spring training games aren't even scheduled to take nine innings."

Here's the thing, though--if you compare it to spring training games and prove to me these are better, you still don't win the argument. The point is that they act like it's a real tournament, but it's so clearly not for so many reasons.

Still, I'm enjoying it all more this time than last time. It's an (awesome) upset when Netherlands beats DR no matter what the circumstances, BUT, do you think if you took the best DR team (that's been playing together for a while, and in a game with real rules that really counted) and put it up against the best Dutch team, do you think they'd ever lose? No chance.

Benjamin said...

"Double-shot of Blanco sends Venezuela past U.S. for Pool C supremacy"

They left some lyricism on the table, imho.

Jere said...

Sox trying to get back to Ft. Myers for the early bird--swinging at the first pitch of the inning each of the first four.

Beckett doing well--ol' friend Joe Thurston just lined a double off him, though.

Benjamin said...

Lugo rbi single. I can't get used to this.

BOS - 000 01
STL - 000 0

Jere said...

2-0 us now.

JVE left game with sprained Ankiel.

Jere said...

Bowden struck out the side in the 7th.

Jere said...

tek 2-19 this spring. way to save it up for the real games, Cap'n.

Jere said...

2-2 in the 9th. Moore Thurston, as he hits another double in the two-run 8th inning rally for STL.

Benjamin said...

Bowden gives up a couple on a walk, double and sac fly. Also a throwing error, but that didn't have any impact.

BOS - 000 010 10
STL - 000 000 02

Benjamin said...

McBeth gives up a walkoff dong.

BOS - 000 010 100 - 2 5 1
STL - 000 000 022 - 4 6 0

Jere said...

So embarrassing these other teams' announcers. Your call shouldn't be "git up! git up! git up!" unless you're a fucking high school announcer. I'm realizing the Hawk Harrelson style is not unique, but almost the norm. Anyway, walkoff dong for them.

Benjamin said...

All great Neptune's ocean won't wash Mather's dong.

Jere said...

what a fuckin' tragedy.