Five Cuts: Superior Halladay is now Koufax of his generation
1. Braves pitcher
"Sinker in, but he may not want to get beat in so late in the game," Lowe said. "Or breaking ball away. Or he's got that changeup now. Or . . . Oh, man, he's so good he'll probably throw a knuckleball!"
Halladay has been very good for a very long time, and regarded as the best pitcher in baseball. But what he did yesterday was what
Halladay is now the Koufax of this generation. He is universally respected by his peers for his humility and competitive spirit. Mostly, he is another Koufax because his peers know he is obviously better than the rest of them.
"He's on a different level than everybody else," Lowe said. "He's amazing."
Here is a story that tells you all you need to know about the motor that runs inside Halladay. He reported to Phillies camp this spring with 148 wins, a $20-million-a-year contract and, while about to turn 33 years old, four straight seasons in which he finished no worse than fifth in Cy Young Award voting . . . and decided he needed to learn a new pitch. And so he simply mastered the changeup.
The truth is that Halladay had thrown various kinds of changeups before, but never well and never consistently. Pitching coach
"Just means I'm getting old and need something new to trick 'em," Halladay joked recently when I asked him about it. "That's what happens when you hang around
How good is his new pitch? Halladay threw 10 changeups yesterday: eight of them for strikes, including five that made the Reds swing and miss.
Well, Halladay has thrown a two-hitter and a no-hitter in his past two starts, all while throwing just 57 balls to 56 batters and holding major league hitters to a batting average of .036.
His next start will be NLDS Game 4 if the shell-shocked Reds can manage to win a game, or NLCS Game 1 in Philadelphia Oct. 16 -- on nine days of rest. (He threw the no-no on eight days of rest.) That next start just became an event. Halladay, upon his first postseason opportunity, just became the national must-see superstar baseball has needed -- and then some. He became a legend.
And that last pitch? Curveball away. But it could have been a cutter, a sinker, a four-seamer or a changeup, too. And who knows -- maybe even a knuckleball one of these days.
How smart does
Tampa Bay had the bases loaded with one out and Peña up with a 2-and-1 count. Lee had yet to find his pinpoint range. The entire game changed on the next pitch. Lee threw a fastball that ran up and in on Peña. On the live TBS broadcast you could hear the "tick-tick" indicating the ball hit something before it hit the mitt of catcher
Home plate umpire
Watch the Rays dugout in the background when Peña is hit; they heard it and knew he was hit.
Maddon, who zigs where others zag, continues to be great for postseason second-guessing.
By the way, let's slow down the praise for Rangers hitters having the freedom to hack at 3-and-0 pitches, as if that was their swashbuckling approach all season.
The truth is that the Rangers ambushed Price.
Rocky V. The New Karate Kid. Twins-Yankees VII.
Some sequels should never be allowed to happen. Is this getting old, or what? The Twins coughed up yet another postseason lead to the Yankees and lost. How long has this been going on?
The Twins have held 11 leads in their past seven postseason games against the Yankees. They have lost all 11 leads and all seven games. Minnesota held six of those leads in the sixth inning or later.
Indoors, outdoors, home, road, left-hander, right-hander . . . it doesn't matter. In seven straight losses to New York, Minnesota has tried seven different starting pitchers (