Carl, this is Jim Thome. You may know him as the Chicago White Sox designated hitter that has absolutely mauled your pitching staff this season. What you may not know is that this man should NEVER EVER EVER get a hit off of any of your pitchers.
How, you may ask, can a guy with an OPS of 1.086 against your pitchers (despite a .250 AVG!) be held hitless? Well, Carl, it’s stunningly simple: throw him inside curveballs.
Now I know you’re very busy trying to strike a balance between one of the best starting staffs in the bigs and one of the shakiest bullpens (see: Elarton, Scott), but should that really preclude you from so much as glancing at a scouting report? I mean, it’s not exactly a closely guarded state secret that Jim Thome has a gargantuan hole in his swing over the inside part of the plate; Cleveland fans have known since the mid-90’s that Thome looks like he’s batting against Bugs Bunny when a pitcher throws him a breaking ball inside.
I also understand that with a righty like Paul Byrd out there, it’s not exactly easy to throw inside curves to a lefty like Thome… in fact, I can see that generally having a righty throw a curve to a lefty is a policy begging for a ball to be hit to the Batter’s Eye. But can you, at the very least, not have your pitchers do this:
Again, not a pitching guru here, but this is yet another of baseball’s worst-kept secrets: Jim Thome annihilates outside pitching. And yet you allow your staff to throw outside junk like that to him? Still?
This drives me crazier than ever because without Thome’s home run, that game theoretically ends in the 9th with an Indians win.
Come on, Carl, you should know better than that.