I watched most of the Nashville Sounds game last night. Thoughts:
- I haven’t been overly impressed with Amaury Rivas’ change-up the half-dozen or so times I’ve seen him pitch this year. Don’t get me wrong… it’s a good pitch for him, just nothing that will strike batters out in the big leagues (or in AAA, for that matter). His arm action for it is good. It’s possible tinkering with the grip this offseason could yield some extra movement that results in more swings and misses. And maybe he’s just been off with it when I’ve seen him. I’ve heard glowing reviews about it in the past.
He was throwing many more curves/sliders, and (I think) 4-seam fastballs last night. A lot is made of the desire for pitchers to induce ground balls, and his 2-seamer does have pretty good dip when it’s on. However, he seems to locate his 4-seamer a lot better and especially when the 4-seam is paired with his changeup, it’s the better fastball. Trying to get Rivas to be a ground ball pitcher when he has more of fly ball pitcher skill set, is, well, you know the peg and hole adage. I’d like to see him spot up the 4-seam a little more and work off of the change-up. His breaking stuff is ok, occasionally has depth, and are serviceable big league pitches. They could be more effective, again, off the harder fastball.
And all yielding fewer ground balls. The horror! But better results.
- Eric Farris still has a bad arm for shortstop, but his throwing motion was somewhat better last night than I’ve seen previously. Although he had a few double-pumps, he mostly got the ball off quickly, which he needs to do to have any shot at an even average runner. There’s an outside chance he can turn into a Ryan Theriot-ish shortstop that has to play in because of his arm. I’d still like to see the Brewers give Farris the chance to play center field and third base to really improve his versatility.
- Mat Gamel looked better at first base, and even made a nice pick on a ball low and to his right (thrown by Farris). I’ve said it time and time again - he has the tools to be a plus first baseman on defense. Maybe he’s truly bought into the position switch and has gotten the reps to start to feel comfortable there.
And yes, he hit his 18th home run last night. Dude can hit. At this point, the Brewers would be nuts not to give him an inside shot at the first base job next year.
- Saito looked good. Bring him up.