I arrived to last night’s game rather late, and on the very first pitch I saw Travis Snider hit a ridiculous, line-drive bomb to straight away centre for his first career home run. Thanks for waiting, kid. That was special. *sniff*. As video evidence to back up the story I will no doubt spend most of my days repeating ad nauseum once Alzheimers kicks in, in the following picture you can clearly see me from behind (in blue) as I completely lose my shit and poor beer all over myself. I swear, there were people sitting down around me, clucking disapprovingly. As the franchise, the great white hope, rounds the bases after absolutely murdering his first of many to come. For shame.
Anyway, he’s still too young, and another kid (with all the wild enthusiasm and crashing down to earth he’s had, does anyone remember that Jesse Litsch is 23?) had a pretty decent night as well. From my vantage point, it looked like he was leaning on the cutter a lot again, but nope:
The legend is what the auto-gameday pitch recognizer things the pitches were (poor thing, it always has a lot of problem with Litsch). But the circles show what they really were, and there’s a lot to like if he continues to do this consistently. Like his first start back, Jesse was:
- Throwing his new four-seamer a lot (and for strikes)
- Throwing a consistent sinker
- Throwing a ton of changeups
He also shelved his slow, looping curveball for his shutout, which is just as well. Curves are out of fashion these days (with reason), and his is garbage. He has enough variety especially now that we can call his “cut fastball” what it really is (a slider) and he is actually a sinkerballer again – after being constantly referred to as one for an entire year during which he threw almost no sinkers. Add in the return of the change, which is what got him rushed to the majors in the first place, and young Jesse looks like a normal pitcher these days- and a good one, instead of a one-trick pony.
Irony of the day: Frank Thomas’ season ended today, giving him 913 plate appearances over the last two years – short of the 1000 that would have kicked in his 10 million dollar vesting option for next season. Not that this changes anything about the decision to cut him loose, but isn’t it hilarious that he managed to defy the odds and be too healthy for his own (and the Jays’) good, and then finally broke down like he was supposed to a month and a half after the team went through hoops, eye-rolling rationalizations about his slow-starts, and the worst fill-in DH’s in the leauge in order to dodge the consequences?