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2003-10-09 18:12
by Will Carroll

If Mussina wins last night, he's well-rested. With the loss, he's rusty. There are whole hack articles out there detailing the difference between "your team" and "my team" but dichotomies point to one source: laziness. If the same cause can have two effects, you're either dealing with quantum mechanics or you're not looking closely enough.

Mussina pitched adequately and got pounded by the Hell Hath No Fury Like A Bald Guy With A Bat Red Sox offense. Not pounded like Brad Penny did on .. well, was it normal rest? He pitched in Game Four as a reliever. Derek Lowe goes tonight and what the hell is he?

Pitching and the monitoring of pitches is still art. Not good art, but that kind you see at the museum and you wonder what the hell this thing is. Someone might like it and pay a million bucks, but to most people it looks like a bunch of spilled paint. Art like you see on display in high schools, the kind done by those tortured suburban souls dressing in black and listening a little too closely to Morrissey's lyrics.

Pitching is in a transition stage, from art to science. We can break down the mechanics in a BioDek, we can repair it using the most advanced surgical techniques, and we can judge the results using sensitive cameras and lasers. Still, at the heart of it, we have a man throwing a ball using fallible mechanics and almost by definition, doing it to failure - to the point where he can no longer do so effectively. What causes this failure? Like anything else, it's simple fatigue and when we learn that this can be measured, we can stop relying on facile cliches or throwing our hands in the air, praying to the Lords of Baseball that Our Pitcher doesn't fall apart like we hope their pitcher does.

Pitching will always be art; the analysis of the act and the defense of the pitcher is science.

"I was just guessing at numbers and figures, pulling your puzzles apart ..."

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