Albert Pujols is hitting .714 – think he can keep up that pace? That might be a record or something. So much for his slow start after a down spring.
Tonight was the first time I saw Skip Schumaker in live-action at second base. He didn’t look bad, save for that monster of a glove he wears. Supposedly it’s not much bigger than your standard infielder’s glove, but it sure looks like your standard outfielder’s peach basket.
Skip made one error, throwing. He looked fairly comfortable with the leather, but it was clear that the reports out of spring were true – the “reaction” plays seemed to come with ease to him, the “routine” plays where he had time to really get in front of it looked a bit awkward. I’m sure (I hope?) comfort at the position will come with time.
He did appear to rush himself on a couple occasions making the throw to first, not just on the throwing error. I’d be curious to know (maybe I need to tweet @dgoold or @MatthewHLeach to find the answer) how many of his errors in the spring were with the glove, and how many throwing?
Schu dropped down to that lazy second baseman’s sidearm to loop the erroneous throw over Pujols’ head, so at least he’s got that part of second base down.
Kyle Lohse quickly settled into his 2008 routine tonight. Get a lead, find your comfort zone, and just throw. I realize that should be the case for any big league pitcher, and I’m sure it’s just my perception, but it seems like a lot of the games Lohse won last season were the “get a lead, don’t give up any big innings, hold the lead, trust your defense” type. Anyone know how often Lohse pitched with a lead last season? Perhaps that’s why he so successful under the Dave Duncan pitch-to-contact regime?
Colby Rasmus had a much better debut in front of the hometown folks than fellow rookie Jason Motte’s 2009 debut. Rasmus was two-for-four in his debut, including a walk. One of his hits flashed a bit of his speed, motoring down the line to beat a late throw. He scored twice, once on Pujols’ blast over the left field bullpen and once on Khalil Greene’s double down the third base line.
It was a good start for the youngster, who wasn’t immune from the standard tricks played on first-year players. After his single in the third inning for his first big league hit, the Pirate players followed protocol by throwing the ball into the Cardinal dugout. Joel Pineiro was on the steps ready to catch the ball and pass it along to the clubhouse attendants. Or was he? Quick sleight of hand slipped the Rasmus ball into his jacket pocket while his free hand pulled another ball out of the other pocket – and into the stands the dummy ball went. Rasmus appeared to do a quick double-take, but was reassured by Dave McKay that his ball was safe.
Keep an eye on eBay for that “COLBY RASMUS FIRST HIT BALL!!!!!” with the five-figure first bid price. Poor sap in the stands probably still thinks he’s got a gem…
I’ve found it interesting listening to Dan and Al the first two games, and the usually juicy tidbits that they have to pass along about Spring Training stories and what all went on in Jupiter. For the first time, I find myself thinking “yeah, Al, I knew that already”. I’m telling you, @dgoold – @MatthewHLeach – @101espn – @JohnMarecek – @miklasz, those guys have the goods on Twitter. Follow them if you’re not already.
Speaking of which – follow us @PitchersHit8th – if you’re not already.