Again, a real reach. I admit it. I'm tired from all the driving today. Have mercy on me.
Chad Moeller caught Brian Matusz yesterday, so I sought his opinion on the rookie's performance and future in baseball.
Me: "What did you think of the way he was throwing?"
Me: "What specifically was he doing that impressed you?"
Moeller: "Throwing strikes."
The veteran catcher's devilish grin widened. He had me on the ropes.
Work with me here, Chad. I'm begging you.
"Brian looked pretty sharp yesterday," he continued. "I liked the way the ball was coming out of his hand."
I'll pause here so you can update your "ball coming out of his hand" list.
"He had great velocity on his fastball. His slider was a bit inconsistent, just as far as location on it, but he was able to put his fastball where he wanted to for the most part, with a lot of movement on it. You saw the results. He was going through them pretty quick. His changeup had great arm speed. He had a lot of guys fooled on it, left-handers and right-handers. That was fun to catch."
Me: "Pretty high ceiling on this kid?"
Moeller: "Yeah, I'd say there's a high ceiling on him. Obviously, the potential's there. There's a reason he was drafted where he was. There's a reason he was in the big leagues in less than a year. The potential's all there, the makeup's there. And he's still raw at this point. He's only going to get better from here. It's pretty exciting."
Me: "He said he worked differently with you behind the plate later in the game, that you were calling some different pitches. What specifically were you doing?"
Moeller: "He used a lot of fastballs the first time through. The second time through the order I wanted to make sure he got his curveball involved more. I just didn't want them jumping on his pitches early in the count. That's what it came down to. The first nine hitters, we started every hitter off with a fastball and I didn't want him to be burned the second time around. The one double by Jimmy (Rollins), an 0-2 pitch that didn't quite make it high enough, but still not a bad pitch. And take away the wind and you have a fly ball to left. It was a really clean performance."
Me: "Thank you. I appreciate it."
Moeller: "Was that better than 'good?'"
Me: "Yes. Very."