10:30 PM Eastern
Brad Mills has a degree in engineering. He’s a smart guy with an obvious interest in how things work, probably in science, space, cool stuff like that. Therefore, one would think that Brad Mills would have done me a favour seeing how I wanted a quick game today so that I could drive the wife and kids cross-state to see tonight’s launch of Space Shuttle Discovery from Port Canaveral. The shuttle was supposed to go up this past Wednesday, when I was still home, but they postponed it to this evening, giving me a chance.
It takes a little over 2 1/2 hours to drive from Dunedin Stadium to Titusville, allegedly the best viewing place for non-ticket holders (if you buy a ticket, you had to show up at noon for the 7:43 PM launch, and I was kind of busy then being on the radio and stuff). That meant that if the Jays-Reds game was quick – say 2:20 or so – I’d be through with the post-game at 4:00 and on my way, having sent in all my tape and wraps and stuff, by 4:15 or so. No problem. And I didn’t think 2:20 was too much to ask. After all, all I had heard about Mills all spring was “works quick, throws strikes”, and he was scheduled to throw five innings.
Today, though, Mills didn’t throw strikes. He worked quickly, but used all 75 of his pitches to get through just four innings of work. Four innings that took just over an hour and a half. Still, despite the five walks, Mills managed to minimize the damage, only allowing two runs. And he would only have given up one had Joe Inglett been able to corral a relatively routine double-play ball off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion with the bases loaded and nobody out in the 4th. Inglett, getting a look at shortstop to see if he can be an emergency fill-in, kicked it a bit, and had to settle for only the out at first.
Still, Mills wasn’t despondent after the outing, as Brett Cecil was Friday after having walked four in his four innings. Maybe Cecil knew what was up, though, since he got sent out today along with four others, including Mike Maroth (shocker), Adam Loewen and Ken Takahashi (he was still here?). And yes, I didn’t mention the other guy because I have forgotten who it was.
Mills talked about what a great opportunity it was for him just to be in big-league camp, and that regardless of where he winds up to start the season, he’s thrilled to be able to pick the brains of Brad Arnsberg, Bruce Walton, Cito Gaston, etc., while he’s here. He also said, though, that he thinks he’ll get the ball again in five days (he hopes – I hope so, too).
One would think that I wouldn’t like Mills, him having ruined my chance to see a shuttle launch live and me not having seen him pitch well despite all the hype, but I do like him. Nice kid, for sure, and I dig his herky-jerky delivery. He’s all arms and legs, and throws his glove at the hitter before coming with the good old over-the-top delivery. Evidently that puts some real bite on his 12-to-6 curveball, but he didn’t have much of a curveball today. I don’t think he’ll get sent out before his next start, a la Cecil, but I think that one of Richmond and Clement have a better chance of breaking with the big club than he does.
After Mills left, they decided to go extras, and three hours and 16 freakin’ minutes after we started, Curtis Thigpen belted a monster shot to left field off Carlos Fisher, on which Jonny Gomes took one quick look and then started jogging back to the dugout. I’m pretty sure he beat Thigpen to third.
Good for Thigpen who, along with Russ Adams, has been a forgotten man this spring. Thigpen’s homer was his second of the spring, and Adams has very quietly had a terrific Grapefruit season with the bat. Russ was 1-for-2 with a walk today, he’s hitting .368 on the spring.
Not so good for me, since we didn’t get off the air until 5:00, and there was no chance I was going to make the shuttle launch. Oh, well, maybe they’ll do it again next spring.
Remember to check us out on mlb.com for Monday afternoon’s Jays-Red Sox affair. Roy Halladay is scheduled to go five against Justin Masterson, and I have a feeling he’ll manage to do so. It’s a web game, so chances are I’ll get a couple of innings of play-by-play, that’ll be cool.
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome.