Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Russ Ortiz got the start today and did just a sterling job. Russ gave up 2 runs, both on solo HRs. Not to make excuses for Russ allowing 2 HRs, but neither HR would have been close to out at AT&T. Russ was a victim of the warm light Arizona air AND a strong wind that was blowing out to RF when Nelson Cruz hit his HR and was blowing out to CF when Ian Kinsler hit his out. Cruz' HR was into the RF bullpen by literally inches. Kinsler's HR made it out to dead CF by about 5 feet. I didn't think either ball had a chance to make it out...until I looked at the flags and saw them just continue to carry.

Other than the HRs, Ortiz continues to look totally different than he did even as a Giant. He is throwing less pitches, mixing the pitches up more and throwing A LOT more groundballs than he used to. Russ became the first Giant to go 6 full innings and, excluding the HRs, allowed only 1 single and 1 walk. Russ threw only 79 pitches through 6 and in his worst inning, threw only 20 pitches. Russ struck out 6 and more importantly, 51 of his 79 pitches were strikes. 12 of Ortiz' outs were by strikeout or groundball (one a DP). That leaves only 5 of 18 outs hit in the air.....and only 1 of those was hit particularly hard (a liner to CF where Todd Linden made a great diving catch).

I was never a huge Russ Ortiz fan. He threw WAY too many pitches, walked too many batters and gave up too many flyballs that turned to HRs. I know I am getting way too excited, but this is NOT the same Russ Ortiz I knew. Other than 1 outing this spring, he has had low pitch counts, has thrown more strikeouts and groundouts than flyballs and just looks more like a PITCHER and less like a brain dead heaver.


Anonymous said...

Wow, you're getting me giddy. I know we're supposed to take spring training performance with a grain (or bucket) of salt, but it's hard not to be excited. The Rangers lineup was mostly starters (without Michael Young), and Russ has been consistently good all spring. I'm trying hard to be realistic...but it's nice that there's something to be optimistic about.

bpfastball said...

I always considered Ortiz to be more of a gutless nibbler, rather than a brain dead heaver.

Whatever the case, if this guy could make some noise out of the five spot I'd be willing to forget the past and let bygones be bygones.

Jeezus H, is it Opening Day yet?

Jefferson said...

Is it too early to pencil in Ortiz as a contender for Comeback Player of the Year?