Bryce Harper, Playoffs, and Answers to Questions
I don’t know if all of you keep up with the mlbfallball.com website or milb.com, but yesterday was Bryce Harpers first professional/ minor league game of his newly minted $9.9 million career. He’s a big kid, wore eye black (it’s something I guess he’s done for years), and carried himself like he belonged, not like he was trying to prove himself.
He had a simple approach. Swing and swing often. I only got to throw him 1 pitch in his very first at bat, and he swung out of his shoes. I threw an inside fastball as hard as I could while hitting my spots, and he tried to hit it a country mile. He hit a very high pop up to my short stop Andrew Romine (LAA), and that was it for my day with him.
He ended up going 1-4, doubling in the later portion of the game, which was a nice piece of hitting, but that’s what we want. Walking him does no one any good, and yet every time he got out, fans were getting frustrated that he wasn’t getting hits much easier. The greatest hitters in the game get out seven out of every ten at bats. THREE hits out of TEN at bats gets you to the Hall of Fame. He’ll be fine; he’s young and he’s very talented.
On the other hand, I felt decent about how my outing went. I threw 3 innings, gave up 2 doubles, one to the leadoff batter of the game, and one to lead off the second inning. Gave up 1 earned run in the first, struck out 2, and didn’t walk a batter.
Knowing that the crowd of almost 850 people was there to see Bryce Harper, there was a nice little buzz at the neat Scottsdale Stadium. I was anxious to see what he had to offer, but I knew that before him (he batted 7th), was six more extremely dangerous hitters, many of whom were drafted in the first round, or were top 10 prospects in their own rights. I made some good pitches, down in the zone, especially after working all week with my pitching coach Ricky Bones (Mets), on a smoother leg kick (not as high, not as wild). I think this adjustment will help me make quality pitches down in the strike zone. Repeating my delivery is something I’ve been working on since little league, and this could be a huge step in the process.
We’ve been watching the playoffs very closely here in Scottsdale. We may be thousands of miles from Philly, but San Francisco is right around the corner. I can tell you that I’m extremely surprised at how much of a fight the Giants are putting up, and now they look like favorites to win this series… in a lot of peoples eyes. But I am very excited to have this series heading back to Philly where the Phil’s are very dangerous, and they have two of their three aces starting, and hopefully Doc will be able to make a relief appearance in Game 7!
@TMCGURN- to answer your question about being a starting pitcher versus being a reliever and having to pitch out of the bullpen.
- This year for me was a bit of a crazy year. I pitched in 43 games not including the playoffs, and of those 43 games, 12 were starts. So I had to change my routine week in and week out according to the role my coaches and managers had in plan for me.
As a starter, I would do some light shoulder stretches with 3 lb weights an hour before game time just to get loose, start sweating, and then I’d get a shoulder stretch from our team trainer. Thirty minutes before the game I’d go outside, run, stretch, and then begin throwing usually 25 minutes before the game. I’d Long toss approximately 120 feet, and then about 10-15 minutes before the game, I’d hop on the mound, and slowly work through my 40 or so pitch pen…EVERYONE has a different routine, and some people get more loose quickly, so 40 pitches for me was just a number that I found that worked.
As a reliever, we would throw before the game, long toss, make sure we are all nice and loose, and as the game goes on, especially during the colder days, we’d jog a little bit between innings, make sure our muscles and ligaments are still loose enough to start throwing. When the coach would call down and tell me to get ready, I’d do a quick jog, a couple trunk twists, and start throwing. The colder the day the more stretching and jogging I’d have to do, but the hotter the days, the easier it would be.