HOUSTON, YOU SHOULD HAVE A VISUAL
Leake takes the mound and ... no surprise to the seasoned Denizen, that we'd hardly ever seen him pitch. He was loose and jangly, like he avoids fried foods that angry up the blood. He don' look back 'cause somethin' might be gainin' on him. If that isn't what Satchel Paige looked like, it certainly was what Jered Weaver looked like when tossing water balloons at the So Cal homecoming party.
You expected command; what you got was a sidearm slinger who believed, very acutely, in the rising of the global tides. It didn't start off too good:
LEADOFF: 2-1 count, sidearm slingball 4" outside --- > lined softly up the middle for a hit.
JOYCE: First pitch paintball, leisurely swatted for a soft fliner 10 yards out onto the OF grass.
LOWRIE: ZZZZZZZIIIINNNNGGGGGG a gorgeous 79 MPH knuckle curve, crisps the outside edge 0-1
AGAIN Leake's vorpal blade goes snicker-snack, and a hellacious 84 MPH changeup drops from thighs to shoetops, bisecting the plate 0-2
Leake then swirled a curve down into Lowrie's loop zone for a double and two runs, but that's completely beside the point. Those two pitches to Lowrie, right then and there you got the 5/$80M deal the Cards laid on him a coupla years ago.
LET'S! GO! TO THE VID! EO TAPE!
The pitches last night, off his 7 ip 8h 2r 2er 2bb 7k box score:
√ Expands the zone, called changeup away
√ Power curve off the plate
√ Big power slider drops below the knees
√ Comes back out-and-over 90 MPH against a LH
√ Iwakuma-style "ladder" fastball for strike three
√ Vicious sidearm curve rolls off the table for garbage strikeout
√ See above: even a "feel for it" poke at the ball comes up with nothing
DR. D LIKEY
Here is a take from inside the Cards' clubhouse.
...in the Cardinals clubhouse, the reaction was one of disbelief.
"I said, 'Is this a joke?'" Tommy Pham told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "April Fool's was months ago. It was shocking to all of us. Leake's a true pro. There are not too many guys who show up every day and just do their job. He's the last of a dying breed."
I dunno; sometimes it's hard to get across that elusive quality of simply being comfortable in competing at the highest levels. Perhaps that PACE stat is part of it; Leake's was about 11 last night :- ) whether he was behind in the game or ahead in it. Couldn't be more pleased with the poise. Here is another reaction, this one from Lance Lynn.
THE CARDINAL WAY, INDEED
Having watched Leake twirl a game for the M's ... well, let's put it this way. His lifetime ERA is 100 in the bigs, and here at SSI we will call that 100.3 rather than 99.7, you feel me? We've got a few Denizens who are into that "Cardinal Mystique" and for one game, anyway, Mike Leake gave a nice cool breeze's worth. Can't guarantee a string of 17-6, 3.12 seasons but if you're axing US, Mike Leake vs Yovanni Gallardo we've got a clear opinion to take home with yer. Or Wade Miley, for that matter...
Dipoto has signed on to deploy Leake as the M's #4 starter over the course of the next couple-three years. Cool advance payment on that contract tonight.