Daily Archives: April 11, 2010

April 11, 2010

Cubs 1, Reds 3: Reds Soar with Leake

Cubs (2-4)000010000151
Reds (3-3)00000012-37
W: Masset (1-0) L: Grabow (0-2) S: Cordero (2)


The Cincinnati Reds won the rubber-match against the Chicago Cubs, thanks to a very good major league–and professional–debut by one Mike Leake.

Leake pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing just 1 run on 4 hits and 7 walks. The walks number is high and something to watch in the future. In Leake’s defense, 2 of those were in the 7th, an inning he never should have pitched in. It was almost like manager Dusty Baker was trying everything in his power to set Leake up for failure. Leake battled through, and the bullpen closed out the game without allowing any further runs.

Speaking of Baker, he did juggle up his lineup. While the casual observer may have found it so minor a change as to not notice it, the hardcore Dusty-ite would instantly see it for the throwing caution to the wind that it is for Dusty. No doubt, Baker was sweating as he wrote the names down, erasing them, then shaking his head and writing them again. I’m sure he was rocking Leo Mazzone-style throughout the game. Baker’s change? He moved the catcher to 6th in the order, and put the left-fielder and right-fielder behind him.

Of course, despite the clogging of the bases that allowed the Reds to win, you can’t argue with the results. The loaded bases in the 8th let the Reds tie the game with a walk, followed by a sacrifice tie to get the lead.

The Cubs received good starting pitching, but the offense against failed, despite having plenty of opportunities. The Cubs left 12 men on base this game. That, plus the 13 from the first game of the series, means the Cubs offense stranded 25 runners in their losses to the Reds. That’s something Cubs fans hope will change.

April 11, 2010

Promising Japanese Knuckleballer Comes Stateside

You’ll hear plenty of proponents of taller and taller pitchers. Closer to the plate at the release point, they’ll say. Gives the hitter less time to think, they’ll say.

While I’ve got my doubts about how much thinking hitters do in any event, I’ll concede that a couple extra inches to your stride will, technically, make you closer to the plate when you release the ball, which would, theoretically, make your fastball look a little faster. But when you’re a knuckleball pitcher, is it really any benefit?

In fact, could you really cross a batter up with a completely surprising angle? Say…about five feet off the ground?

Eri Yoshida, an 5′, 114 lb, 18-year-old Japanese pitcher, signed with the Chico Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League and will report to spring training next month. Also, she’s a chica.

Photo via Knuckle Curve on everyjoe.com/knucklecurve

The Tim Wakefield enthusiast is the first female pitcher to play professionally in the U.S. since Ila Borders retired ten years ago. I feel like less of a woman for never having heard of Ila Borders, but I’ll try to redeem myself now with redoubled enthusiasm for the Outlaws. Go Chico Outlaws!