April 6, 2009

Opening Day hurlers -- the good, the bad, and the ugly

Only the Cardinals' pitchers know how much, if any, the Opening Day jitters affected their respective performances.

Adam Wainwright -- 5.1 IP, 4 runs, 2 earned runs, 5 BB, 7 SO, 0 HR, ERA 3.38

Waino threw 94 pitches, 54 for strikes, but tossed 20+ of those in the first inning; although he gave up no runs in that first frame. He faced 25 Pirates' hitters. He threw 3 ground outs and 6 fly outs.

Probably could've thrown at least one extra inning if he hadn't thrown such a long first inning. Wasn't able to pitch nearly enough to contact, and was missing just enough to not get some of the borderline calls.

While Wainwright wasn't commanding on is fastballs, his curve was well in hand, and he may have overexposed the pitch. May need to concentrate on spotting a first or second pitch strike, then pitch to contact as reports suggest.

Grade: C+, weighted for Opening Day: B-

Josh Kinney -- 0.1 IP, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 earned runs, 1 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR, ERA 0.00

Credited with a hold (1), this is an instance where a stat is deceptive, as Kinney had practically no command at all. He faced only 2 Bucs, walking one and getting one to fly out. He threw a dozen pitches, 5 for strikes.

Grade: D, weighted for Opening Day: C-

Trevor Miller -- 1.0 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs, 0 earned runs, 2 SO, 0 HR, ERA 0.00

Threw 20 pitches, 14 for strikes, against 5 Pirates, obtaining one fly out besides two SOs.

Was charged with a blown save (1), but did well in his first outing as a Card.

Grade: C+, weighted for Opening Day: B-

Kyle McClellan -- 1.1 IP, 1 hit, 0 runs, 0 earned runs, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR, ERA 0.00

McClellan threw 14 pitches, 8 for strikes, facing 5 Bucs, throwing 1 ground out and 2 fly outs.

Clearly the sharpest of the four relievers used, McClellan looked more like he had during the first half of last season, before he was overexposed and run down. He was the brightest spot out of the bullpen, re-defining his role in middle to set-up relief.

Grade: B, weighted for Opening Day: B+

Jason Motte -- 1.0 IP, 4 hits, 4 runs, 4 earned runs, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR, ERA 36.00

Motte threw 29 pitches in the one inning of closing relief, 19 for strikes. He faced 8 Bucs, getting 1 ground out and 1 fly out.

When your big pitch is the heater, and you can't delegate it to a "neighborhood" of the black, pro hitters will sit on it, no matter how hard you throw. That's what happened to Motte, whereby his secondary pitches made no difference because they were complimenting nothing special.

A terrible outcome to being off just enough to get smacked a little and flared a little.

Grade: D, weighted for Opening Day: D+