Courtesy of day life
The only person to take me up on my offer to watch the game chez moi was none other than the Nemesis Enforcer himself. His ETA was a little after game time, which was no problem thanks to the wonders of PVR, but meant I had to resist the urge to open Twitter and not respond to the 3 text messages I got asking me if I was watching.
My observations of the centre piece in the Halladay deal will be purely from a catcher's perspective. Here goes:
First off, the kid can move the ball. With respect to his fastball, I saw 3 different kinds.
The 4 seamer: straight and flat in the mid 90's.
The cutter: breaks in on left handed batters in the mid 90's.
The 2 seamer: breaks in on right handed batters in the mid 90's.
He threw these pitches early and often. Breaking bats and getting guys to look like basically Minor Leaguers. I especially liked the cutter, which did look like a slider at times.
He did not throw his curveball nearly enough early on, which I think we can attribute to the fact that John Buck had NO CHANCE of catching it. Dirty, filthy, sick, nasty.....call it whatever you want. A tight 12 - 6 break on it and appeared to be difficult to pick up by the hitters. Definitely his best pitch with big time swing and miss potential.
I only saw about 3 change ups all night. They looked straight and sat at about 86 - 87 MPH.
Much was made by the announcers during the pre game and the game itself about his Cy Young award winning dad and what advice he may have passed along before the start. Here is what I think Doug said to Kyle: "son, you had better keep the ball down in the zone"
The only pitch I saw that missed it's spot up, was the homer that Vernon brought back to earth off the bat of Adam Jones.
I do have a few things that I think may need to be worked on, although much of them can probably be attributed to nerves.
1: Holding runners on
Both Bautista and Buck had to gently remind our young fireballer to vary his times to the plate. The double steal in the first inning by Baltimore was evidence of this. You cannot, under any circumstances, get into a rhythm with runners on base. To his credit, Kyle was able to correct this very quickly.
2: Throwing the pitches he wants to throw, when he wants to throw them
I only saw him shake off his catcher once. And that was in order to throw the curve for a strike out. I totally understand why he was hesitant to do this but as he becomes more comfortable and familiar with the league, look for this to change.
3: Maintaining his velocity
From what I can see, his velo was down about 2 - 3 MPH by the 5th inning. It is the end of the season and this is common.
Overall, a wonderful performance from where I was sitting even though he took the loss. I think the hype may be warranted and I will most definitely be in attendance for his game against the Mariners at the Dome.
And you should be too.
And you should be too.