Some things to talk about while all of our hopes and dreams get put on hold...
1) Folty's pitches
This is a couple of days old by now, but Evan Drellich's excellent piece on Mike Foltynewicz deserves mention. Drellich gets into some nitty-gritty about Folty's season, even uses the Folty nickname and gives us some new information on what Folty was throwing last season. He apparently scrapped his two-seamer and his slider while focusing mainly on the four-seamer and a new "spike" curve.
The reason he scrapped the slider is because of elbow soreness, but he also felt like the four-man tandem pitching staff might have affected it, too.
I don't think Folty is alone in doubting the tandem pitching setup, but I'm not sure the Astros think the same way. That's why they scrapped the slider. But, I also wouldn't be surprised if we saw some tweaks in the tandem pitching setup this season.
My favorite parts of this story were from Brent Strom:
"The people who throw sinkers are people that can't throw fastballs," Astros pitching coach Brent Strom said, with some embellishment. "Foltynewicz throws 98 mph. Now if that's not the definition of a fastball, I don't know what is."
"A lot of the Tommy John (surgeries) that you're reading about, and one of the things that we're going to address with the minor league pitching coaches in Houston, is we have to keep our hand inside our elbow as we're driving a ball in a straight line," Strom said.
"The most powerful finger on the hand is the middle finger," Strom said. "So what it does, it takes the index finger out of the equation. ‘Cause the curveball, the best curveball - which I've heard from Koufax - are thrown between the middle finger and the ring finger. The thumb is a detriment and the index finger is a detriment in terms of rotation of the ball.
"The biggest problem young pitchers have, and not just young pitchers, they try and manipulate the shape of the ball. They try and shape it with their hand with their body as opposed to letting the rotation of the ball make the break."
I really, reallly like this guy. He's going to be a fun part of this team, even if the pitchers don't automatically improve under his tutelage.
2) CSNH Update
Ohhh boy. Things are about to get all sorts of crazy in this CSN Houston bankruptcy case. From John Royal's excellent piece on the latest update in your favorite ongoing legal investigation:
It's not really proper for a judge to request to meet with parties, but to then forbid the presence of their attorneys. But as I was told, Judge Hughes makes his own rules, and those rules don't necessarily match the proper legal rules -- the rules also tend, I'm told, to change from case to case. He also believes he's smarter than everybody else, especially attorneys, and he's absolutely convinced that he understands the case better than anybody else, including the parties who have been living the case for years.
Check out the rest of Royal's roundup for what all this means. Suffice it to say Judge Lynn Hughes might become everyone's favorite judge or this whole mess might continue ad infinitum. So, pretty much what we've dealt with for the past 18 months.
3) Opening Day is here
Anyone going to stay up and watch the first real baseball game of the season early Saturday morning? The Dodgers and the Diamondbacks will face off at 4 a.m. Saturday for the first baseball of the season.
If I had MLB.TV, I'd be tempted to get up, just to see actual baseball being played instead of spring games where the golf game after is more competitive than the baseball before. Plus, with the Dodgers and D'Backs, there's always a chance for a brawl over a wallaby or something. Australia!
Not many reasons for Astros fans to watch this one, but it's real, live baseball and it means we're closer and closer to the Astros taking the field for real in 2014.