"Pitching has got to be the foundation in the organization. Everybody wants a good pitcher. The more pitchers we have, the stronger our organization will be."
- Dayton Moore, Kansas City Royals General Manager

Sunday, June 8, 2008

more ozzie praise

ozzie's quickly becoming my second favorite manager (next to only charlie manuel, for whom i've grown a significant admiration over the last 4 years. say what you will about his drawl, he's a great hitting instructor, and he's turned into a hell of an in game decision maker).

gavin floyd was cruising along into the 7th inning. 4 hits, 8 strikeouts, 1 walk, 73 pitches.

the first batter of the inning was jason kubel, floyd gets ahead 1-2. he buries a curveball that is fouled off. he buries another. it's taken for a ball. 2-2. floyd goes to his fastball, and the ball is taken out of the park.

okay, floyd's got a 10 run cushion, so it's no biggie.

next batter, delmon young. floyd, again, buried him 1-2, and again, tried to finish him off with a pair of curveballs. the first one was fouled off, but the second one was ripped to LF for a double off the wall.

HR, followed by 2B. in the 7th inning. with a pitcher on the mound who is known by an entire city as being mentally weak.

but ozzie stuck with him. it took floyd just 6 pitches to get the next 3 outs, leaving his pitch count at 90, 3 starts after throwing a 115 pitch complete game, 3 hitter.

again, though, just like that night, ozzie did something that i have great respect for: he pulled floyd.

he didn't need to as floyd surely could have gone another inning, or maybe even finished the game, but with an 10 run lead, ozzie opted to save his pitcher's arm, and let him leave the game with that last inning fresh on his mind. he may have been up 10 runs, but the 2006 version of gavin floyd might have lost confidence in his fastball and lost touch with the strike zone, but this floyd got out of the jam in 6 pitches.

i might be wrong, and this might be more a function of jerry rothschild, but for now, i'm satisfied giving the credit, and the praise to ozzie guillen.