Sunday, March 25, 2007
Spring is in the air and the Sox are on everyone’s mind, even at my hippie coffee shop and during the second biggest sporting/gambling event. The coffee guy was telling me how it’s like an old friend that comes back when the weather warms up. Yes, it is time for Opening Day and after today’s outing, Beckett looks ready.
Beckett threw some good curveballs with nice downward break and a two back-to-back 83mph changeups in the seventh. But most impressive was the control of his fastball. It was in the low 90’s for most of the game, low in the zone and hitting his spots.
During the in-game interview, Beckett said the key to “…this season is keeping my walks down.” Throughout the spring, his control has improved because he is “…just relaxing…and throwing my pitch and getting back to the way I used to throw not trying to throw hard from the get go. I’m slowing everything down.” said the Texass flame thrower. Beckett expanded by stating “It is just a feeling…going slower at the beginning and not rushing threw your delivery. It helps me just throw the ball late…The last foot and a half of my arm slot is what dictates how hard and where I’m going to throw it.” Hopefully, Beckett can continue not rushing his delivery giving him better command and control of his sick stuff.
On Saturday, I watched the Sox and Rays on mlb.tv paying particular attention to Hideki Okajima. The southpaw featured an average fastball, both velocity - few swings and misses - and command, which he threw almost exclusively. (I don’t think he threw any changeups. The Rays telecast did not have a gun.). He threw four curveballs - three for strikes. Okajima’s out pitch is of the 12-6 variety. One strike was swinging, one looking and one hit for a pop up to Pedroia in shallow right. Okajima appeared to be just as advertised.