clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Game Hero, 15 - 6

Wandy Rodriguez
  • W, 4 - 0, 2.53 ERA
  • One of only five starters with a 4 - 0 record in the league
  • Yup, that's right: names like Maddux, Pedro, Roy. . . and Wandy
  • 63 Game Score
  • 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 6K, 2BB
  • Career-high 122 pitches thrown, 78 for strikes (64%)

The buzz before the game was that Wandy would have to go deep into the game, 'cause of the severe toll exacted on the bullpen during last night's marathon.

The buzz after the game should be that Wandy came through. The team needed him to step up and pitch seven innings, and he did exactly that. The Cruz Jr. double made it kinda scary there at the end, but Wandy got his job done.

He's still not perfect, but Wandy's command is so much better than it had been. He's locating his pitches now, not just tossing the ball and praying it gets over. He works the batters in and out, in and out. In with the fastball and out with that circle change/screwball thang, the next time in with the curveball out with the fastball. Mix it up and do it again.

And so much more often, when he's out of the zone with a pitch, it's because he wanted to be. I was worried during Repko's last at bat, because Repko had taken him deep earlier, and Rodriguez looked like he was starting to tire. And he was totally off kilter with a curve that swept in on Repko and nearly hit the dirt in front of him. But Wandy worked the guy so well back and forth that he ended up looking at a strike three that was more or less right over.

Or look at Garciaparra's first AB, during which he K'ed. Right out of the Tom Glavine playbook: in out in out. Nomar was retired on pitch number five in, but if he hadn't been, guess where pitch number six would have been?

Garciaparra's first AB off Wandy, from CBS Sportsline

It's pretty apparent by now Wandy has an idea out there. He knows where it's going, these days.

I'm also wondering about his velocity. If I hadn't known who I was watching, I would have said that Mueller's second K came on a high riding fastball. But Wandy doesn't HAVE a high riding fastball. He doesn't have that kind of velocity. Does he?

Anyway, the guy we're watching is so different from what we saw last year, it's positively scary.

In the back of my mind today, there was this evil little imp trying to play on my doubts and fears, whispering, 'it's gonna end tonight. He's not that good. The bubble's gonna burst.'

Um, no. Stupid imp.

It's not an illusion. It's not just luck. The improvement in Wandy's game is absolutely legitimate. He's gonna get beat every now and then, because he doesn't throw 98, and something'll slip. But the things he was doing tonight can absolutely bring consistent success. As long as he keeps his composure and his wits, this guy could win 15 games, easy.