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October 2, 2003

Under The Knife

Beer and Adrenaline

by Will Carroll

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The games so far have gone according to form, not in the sense that they've been predictable, but in the sense that each series has its strengths. Want slugging? Got it. Want great pitching? Got it. Want strategy? Got it. Want to second-guess managers? We've got that too. Want to see the best players that baseball has to offer? We might not have all of 'em, but there's certainly plenty. (Even the announcing has been pretty good, but more on that later.) All in all, it's a great time to be both a baseball fan and a medhead. The only negative so far? The fact that I'm up at nearly 2 a.m. watching the Red Sox play a phenomenal game in Oakland. Oh well... there are worse fates, I suppose.

While wondering if seeing high-speed film of Chad Bradford might make a biomechanist's head explode, here are the injuries from today's games...

  • Jeff Brantley did a great job of explaining what was going on with Tim Hudson, earning him an honorary medhead tag, at least for today. Heck, he even cited velocity a couple times, making me wonder if he's reading this column. As Hudson got into the game, a muscle in his forearm cramped up, causing his thumb to "typewriter" in spasm, adjusting his grip and causing a lack of feel. Hudson fought through the problem, which was never terribly threatening physically. Hudson's problem isn't serious and should be able to be addressed before his next scheduled start. No word on whether Hudson has ever dealt with a similar problem in the past.

  • I was as surprised as anyone that Pedro Martinez went for 130 pitches. Yes, I wrote just yesterday about the "grand plan" of working Pedro deeper into games at the end of the season, but with each passing pitch, I was more and more on the edge of my seat asking, "He can't stay in another batter--can he?" Martinez hasn't pitched 130 deep in... well, the records I have don't go that far back, but I can't find one. PAP theory dictates that he'll lose some effectiveness in his next appearance or two, but his velocity wasn't horrible even at the end. I want to check more charts before saying it more definitively, but I think Grady Little's going to regret letting his ace go that far.

  • Marcus Giles' injury was announced in Atlanta as a "lower body bruises" and ESPN had their roving reporter explain that Giles had driven his elbow into his quadriceps. Just watch the video and tell me if you can see where that happened. His arms splayed until reaching forward to break his fall. Giles isn't the type to flat-out lie, so I'll leave the possibility open that my eyes deceived me, but my source in the Braves clubhouse only laughed when we spoke again today.

  • Carlos Zambrano took a hard liner off his left leg that forced him out of the game. It was one heck of a shot, and Zambrano will feel the pain more today than he did when it happened. Early word from the Cubs is they expect Zambrano to be available for relief duty in Game Five, if necessary, or for his next scheduled start.

  • A lot of e-mail came my way today about the use of Dontrelle Willis as a reliever, and the point holds true for the use of Derek Lowe, Rich Harden and John Burkett. How is it possible for a reliever to be used for a short session on his off day, then come back for his normal start? The reason is because of the side work you often hear talk of, but never see. Pitchers will often throw between 50-75 pitches on the side at near-game velocity. This could be done in a game, and often was in days gone by when teams had three or four pitchers, and relievers were seldom needed. As long as pitching coaches feel comfortable with it, and someone is not extended like Lowe was, there's no medhead reason not to do it. There's a lot of strategy arguments, both for and against, but remember that the rules change in the postseason. It's about winning, baby.

  • If looks could kill, that glare from Byung-Hyun Kim at Grady Little would at least land the Red Sox' skipper on the 15-day DL.

I need sleep, but it ain't comin'. Baseball Prospectus Radio has a LOAD of interviews coming tomorrow. Like you, I'll live on beer and adrenaline.

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