Friday, October 29, 2010

Cain's Pitching Weighs 'Heavy' on Giants

The expertly-coiffed Eric Karros was effusive in his praise of Giants starter Matt Cain before last night's World Series contest.

"He throws a very heavy fastball," said Karros. "I mean heavy. If you're a hitter and you don't hit it on the barrel, it legitimately hurts your hands."

No, Cain was not throwing the shot put last night, though his line--four hits over 7 2/3rds innings--makes it sound like the Rangers were trying to hit one.

He ain't heavy...wait, yes he is.

The official Major League baseball weighs around 5 ounces, and pitchers don't get to choose more gravitationally enhanced spheres.

Throwing a heavy ball is one of the ultimate compliments for a pitcher. It often is used to describe a sinkerballer, who gets batters to hit the ball on the not-so-sweet part of the bat.

"We had Jimmy Rollins on our XM show, and I asked him if there were any young pitchers he thought were particularly tough that people should know about. He mentioned Jimenez, saying, that he throws a 'heavy sinker and you really have work to get the ball in the air with him.'"

Baseball Digest has what has to be the definitive essay, which dates back to 2004, on the "heavy ball" phenomenon. An excerpt reads:

It's the sinker that's usually the culprit. According to one-time Giants catcher and former Arizona manager Bob Brenly, "A sinker is the heaviest ball, especially if it breaks late. You don't catch it cleanly in the pocket, but lower, and it wobbles and vibrates all the way up your arm. It does the same to a batter who makes contact with it.

It is with heavy hearts that the Rangers return to the Lone Star State down 2-0.

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