Last night, the Milwaukee Brewers took only one inning to end all the Pirates happy talk after Thursday’s win over the Philadelphia Phillies about how the Bucco team is coming together and the how the players are proving that they really deserve to be in the Major Leagues.
As previously noted, the only Pirate position player that is truly deserving of the label "Major Leaguer" is Andrew McCutcheon, 3 for 5 with a home run and four RBIs.
Curiously, another worthy player, pitcher Zack Duke, had the worst outing of his career: 3IP, 11H, 7ER including a titanic home run by Prince Fielder.
I listened to the first inning where Duke gave up five runs. Pirate announcer and former Buc pitcher Bob Walk (105-81) must have said it a dozen times: "Duke has to pitch inside."
Then the next Brewer would come to the plate, single and Walk observed again that Duke’s pitch was on the outside.
What happened to pitching inside? Controlling the inside part of the plate is not brushing back, no matter what the batter thinks.
Throughout baseball history, dominant pitchers like Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Bob Gibson and Sal Maglie took command of the game by pitching inside.
Maglie didn’t earn his nickname "The Barber" for nothing.
As for Gibson, known for pitching inside to batters Dusty Baker received the following advice from Hank Aaron:
Don't dig in against Bob Gibson, he'll knock you down. He'd knock down his own grandmother if she dared to challenge him. Don't stare at him, don't smile at him, don't talk to him. He doesn't like it. If you happen to hit a home run, don't run too slow, don't run too fast. If you happen to want to celebrate, get in the tunnel first. And if he hits you, don't charge the mound, because he's a Gold Glove boxer.
The Los Angeles Dodger one-two combination of Koufax and Drysdale struck fear into batters by going inside.
There have been many one-two pitching tandems that led their team to the pennant and World Championship, but few, if any, had greater seasons together than Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale in 1965.
Koufax started 41 games, completed 27, won 26 while losing 8, and pitched 8 shutouts. He led the league with a 2.04 ERA and struck out 382 hitters in 335-2/3 innings.
Drysdale was almost as good, starting 42 games and completing 20. His 1965 record was 23-12, pitching 308-1/3 innings with a 2.77 ERA and 210 strikeouts.
Koufax, Drysdale, Gibson and Maglie agree that pitching inside was the key to their success.
As Koufax said, "Show me a guy who can’t pitch inside and I’ll show you a loser."