I’m only here for Pedro, so no Samardzija analysis or comments on how bad the Cubs bullpen may or may not be.
The lineup he faces is as follows:
Not exactly new murderer’s row, but Pedro isn’t exactly this guy anymore either. Might be a fair match-up. Shouldn’t be, but this is the Cubs. They have one skill, FAIL, and they are damn good at it.
Pedro has to work randomly, mixing in fastballs, curves, change-ups, sliders, sinkers, knuckleballs, epheus pitches and the occasional underhand toss, too. If he becomes predictable, he’ll be shelled. Seriously. He’ll start to resemble Jamie Moyer. (Too soon? And who the hell is Moyer to complain about the Phils demoting him? You’re 17,298 years old, and your fastball reads equal to my age on the radar gun (I’m 19). What do you expect? You are finished. Deal with it. You got to play baseball at that age, so shut the heck up.)
Anyway, the Phils are smashing Quinn’s old wide out, so it might be awhile before ol’ Pedro hobbles out to the rubber.
First InningPedro enters with a 2-run lead. The Riot’s 96 OPS+ says that Pedro should be able to quickly dispatch him. But, you never know. We don’t know what Pedro has.
First two pitches to The Riot are 87 and 86, if you can trust the ESPN gun. Gets a swing and a miss to take the count 1-2, then challenges him with an 89 MPH fastball that the shortstop pops out to Howard. 1 down.
Milton Bradley is really good, but also really nuts and having an off year. He could jack Pedro though. Again, two fastballs, again 1-1. Pedro is working fast, I like that. Misses inside 2-1. Pedro throws an off-speed pitch and gets Bradley to ground out to second. 2 down.
Good work changing speeds so far. D-Lee takes a pitch for ball one. The next one is hammered down the right field line for a double. Looked like a fastball right over the heart. K-Zone shows that it’s belt-high but inside corner.
Jake Fox is up, .915 OPS. Dangerous hitter, even if he’s new to the scene (or at least kind of new). Pedro misses with a change-up, or a short curveball, something. Pedro throws another breaking ball that moves from the middle to right on Fox’s hands, foul ball, 1-1. Good movement so far from Pedro. Pedro throws what looks like a fastball, way off the plate, but Fox chases, 1-2. Pedro throws the same pitch again, but belt-high, driven foul. Rick Sutcliffe keeps hammering that Moyer deserved a shot. No one in MLB deserves anything. Pedro challenges Fox, up, with a 92 MPH fastball. Get out of here! 92? Wow. Fox couldn’t handle it. Still 1-2, Pedro misses with a breaking ball. Pedro throws another change, and Fox hammers it foul. He can’t get swings and misses based off movement, he has to trick hitters. The movement is just enough to get foul balls. This at-bat presents an interesting dilemma, because Fox has now seen the entire arsenal. What do you go with? Carlos Ruiz calls a fastball high and away, and it works, swing and a miss.
1 IP-1 H-Zeroes-1 K-18 Pitches (12)
Pedro is back to face Fukudome, Soriano and Baker.
Pedro misses middle over the plate with a fastball and Fukudome murders it, for a long double that hit off the ivy in dead-red center. Rut roh.
Soriano starts the AB by taking a fastball, shockingly, given his penchant for swinging at lightning-bugs and mosquitoes that float by. Pedro Ks him on 3 pitches. No shock. How’s that deal working out, Hendry? (Cackles.) 1 down.
Baker takes a strike, 0-1. Lots of Pedro’s stuff is sinking and he’s missing down, which is good. Lee and Fukudome showed what happens when he’s over the heart of the plate. Pedro takes it to 1-2 but misses with a change, and Fox rips it for an RBI single. 2-1 Phils. It wasn’t a bad pitch, really, but he can’t miss at all.
0-1 to Hill, who’s .296 OBP screams for a GIDP here. Pedro has to know that. He takes him 0-2. Time for a breaking ball away? Misses with a fastball (93!?!?) down, 1-2. Probably a classic set-up pitch, eh Pedro? Maybe, but he throws another fastball (92!?!?) that Hill fouls off. Curve ball time, Pedro? Yep, and it was a good one, but Hill didn’t chase, 2-2. Pedro throws one of those nasty 2-seamers that Hill pops out. 2 down.
Brady’s buddy steps in, takes a strike. After Sutcliffe says that the dude isn’t an offensive pushover, he flails at a fastball in the LHB’s box, then misses again for the swinging strike three. Excellent analysis Rick!
2 IP-3 H-1 R-1 ER-0 BB-3 K-35 Pitches (26)
Pedro again gets ripped to start the inning, this time by The Riot, who singles hard to center.
I betcha Pedro would like a double play here. Bradley could easily provide that. Pedro misses down, 1-0. Pedro misses twice more, 3-0. Uh oh. Pedro can’t afford walks. Be verry careful. Bradley gifts him a strike, 3-1. Pedro drills the black, high and away, 3-2. Pedro leaves one over the plate and Bradley lines it to the Hawaiian. 1 down.
Pedro again starts the count 2-0, this time to D-Lee, who ripped a double in his first attempt. Pedro gets a fastball over, 2-1. Lee works it full, and Pedro manages a pop out. Good work there. He fought around a hitter’s count. 2 down.
It’d be a big help if he could get a first pitch strike. Doesn’t get it, 1-0. Fox had a wonderful AB against him last time, too. Be careful, Pedro. Misses again, 2-0. Pedro throws a breaking ball off the plate, glove side, strike one swinging, 2-1. Pedro misses again, all to the glove side, 3-1. Same pitch again, just a little more plate and again, as he proved in the first inning, Fox can’t handle his fastball. Fouled it off. Rings him right after with a fastball over the black. Good pitching. 3 down.
3 IP-4 H-1 R-1 ER-0 BB-4 K 55 Pitches (37)
Alright kids, it’s 12-1 Phils. Because of that, the Cubs are done providing effort, so the good looks at Pedro are over. If I’m Charlie Manuel I warm up the old geezer and let him go for a while. Pedro’s been sitting and sitting, plus he was just about to get figured out, so yanking him now makes sense.
Good effort from Pedro, though. He can be productive with what he has left, no doubt.
Correspondent: Adamdadkins http://www.voicedup.com/index.php/live-blogging-pedros-return/