Updated May 20, 2012 - 7:58 pm
Montero needs a break, League pinpoints his problem
Greetings from Coors Field where you sometime catch yourself forgetting that you are not at Safeco. There are a lot of similarities except of course, that this is a hitter's park. My favorite feature has to be the Toyota Tundra on a platform above and beyond the left field stands. Behind it is a wall with the yellow line and 485 marked on it. I would love to see one go flying over that.
No surprises in the lineup Friday. The general feeling is we could see a change soon, but tonight is not the night. Jesus Montero is sitting for a second straight game. He came in to pinch hit Thursday night and had two miserable at bats flailing wildly at pitches far out of the zone. Eric Wedge noted that and his previous game when making out today's lineup with John Jaso at catcher.
"He needs it," Wedge said of Montero's day off. "We've talked about it when there was all of the business early on about him playing every day, he's just not ready to play every day. We're going to get him in there as much as we can, but he has got a lot to process mentally and we are asking a lot of him."
As for the uncharacteristic at bats we have seen in the last few days, Wedge said they indicated it was time to give him a break.
"That's a red flag," he said. "It just tells you that mentally he is not in a place that he needs to be right now which is not uncommon for a young player, especially a young player that you have given a lot of responsibility to, that you have thrown in the middle of the lineup because he has done a nice job for you. To give him a couple of days off now I think is a healthy thing to do."
So Jaso is in today and we could soon see there Miguel Olivo who arrived in Denver at about 4:00 today. Olivo went through his regular pregame routine with the team, stretching, taking batting practice and catching in the bullpen. He will do the same the next two days and most likely be sent out on a short rehab assignment where he will alternate catching and dh'ing. If all goes well I would anticipate having him back for the next roadtrip.
One other order of business today was to check in on Brandon League after his disastrous outing where he walked three batters in an inning en route to the Mariners loss Thursday in Cleveland.
"He was just out of sync," Wedge said. "His delivery was out of sync, he just was not able to find it. He just wasn't himself yesterday."
League said after the game that he was sure his lack of command of the fastball was a mechanical issue and that he would waste no time getting the video tape and figuring it out. According to Carl Willis he did just that and the two of them were able to isolate a mechanical issue that they worked on today.
The strange thing about League's 11th inning meltdown is that it came nearly a year to the day that the same thing happened last year. On May 8th he gave up three runs in the tenth inning of a tie game in Chicago. He blew saves in his next three outings including a game where he gave up three runs in the ninth in Cleveland.
The problem then was that he was throwing his fastball too much. Carl Willis wanted League to not only mix in the splitter more but to throw his slider as well to give the hitter a different look. Thursday we saw League throw primarily fastballs. We also saw him throw a splitter in the dirt that Jaso could not block. I asked League why he stuck with the fastball that night and he told me that he couldn't throw the breaking ball until he was ahead in the count.
Willis pointed out that it was understandable that he wouldn't chance throwing the splitter with the bases loaded but that again, that would be a good place to throw the slider. I think in addition to the mechanical fix we may see League mix his pitches a little more. Command, particularly with his first batter faced has been more of the issue but Willis would like to see him use all of his weapons.
That's it for now. We are in the fifth inning and Millwood has something rather interesting going on right now...
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