Pedro Martinez has a book? So does Jamie Moyer. It’s called “Just Tell Me I Can’t,” and Moyer and it were profiled on NPR’s “Fresh Air” show yesterday. There is a transcript of some of his highlights here.
And, with the caveat that I listen to NPR a lot so I’m not trying to make fun of them, there is definitely a different level of baseball analysis featured there than you or I may be used to. Listen to Moyer describe, in NPR’s terms, “using psychology to frustrate batters”:
Knowing that we all have an ego — and that in baseball sometimes those egos can be really big — hitters can have really big egos and not only do they want to hit home runs but they want to hit them 30 rows back, because that’s what people want to see. So now take that ego that they have and use it against them. … If I can throw a hard pitch — maybe it’s just off the plate — but [then] I throw the same pitch or a pitch looking just like it, but it’s 8-10 miles an hour slower … and they swing like it’s the hard pitch, now all of the sudden they’re thinking it’s a fastball and they’re swinging way ahead of the ball, and now they become frustrated. And that’s where the game of chess, of cat and mouse in baseball really comes into play.
Or, as we all call it: throwing a changeup.
I can’t help but wonder how many non-sports fans listened to that and thought “hmm … maybe there’s more to baseball than I realized?”
Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.
“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”
Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.
The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.