Nov 062011
 

In the made-for-TV showcase AFL Rising Stars game, the West Division beat the East Divison, 11-2, you know, in case anyone truly cares about the score.

Bryce Harper (DH) and Derek Norris both started (C) and played most of the game, which was over early as the Western squad put up 10 of its 11 runs over the first three innings. Naturally, the MLB.com angle is the great hitting, but I’m inclined to believe what John Sickels wrote hours before the game:

The main thing I have noticed here is the poor quality of pitching compared to hitting. In fact, the pitching… I’ve seen has been so bad that [it’s] hard to properly analyze some of the hitters.

Full disclosure: I taped the game and just watched the Harper and Norris at-bats this morning. Those five first-inning runs meant no stealing against Norris, so not much to look for in controlling the running game (though he looked steady in fast-forward ;-). Can’t say that I regret choosing to spend the evening in with the ball-and-chain spouse.

Both Harper and Norris were hitless (0-for-2), but both walked once and I think I saw what Sickels meant. Both walks weren’t from pitching around (remember the West was up big), but from missing with the breaking pitches in the dirt. Both hitters’ highlights came from flyballs, with Harper looping an opposite-field flyball to left for sacrifice fly and Norris driving a 396-footer to dead center, missing a solo HR by about three or four feet.

Harper did strike out twice, but that’s hardly news. It was actually kind of amusing to listen to Dave Valle fake his way through some of questions about the length of Harper’s swing (both Sickels and Law have noted it’s been shortened a bit, with Sickels noting he’s not lost any power in the process), gushing instead about his youth and power. Almost made me wish for Tim McCarver to have been there. Almost.

Scottsdale resumes play tomorrow with evening games from Monday to Thursday and afternoon games on Friday and Saturday. Barring rain or a change in the rotation, Sammy Solis’s next outing is most likely to come in one of those day games.

  3 Responses to “AFL Update: November 6, 2011”

  1. Yes, never underestimate the importance of marriage maintenance.

    I hear you on McCarver. While I think he’s gotten better, this postseason I was late getting home most days so I listened on the radio coming home. I found Orel Hersheir & Bobby Valentine so much better at analysis that I landed up keeping the radio on for sound when I got home.

  2. I watched in real time and specifically Norris…..BIG BIG improvement in setting up giving a target and framing pitches BUT….he still has a very fixable and bad habit of flipping his glove down and then up once the his pitcher is about 50% into his drive to the plate.

    Bottom line…he looked much better so that is great.

    • Have to wonder if he picked it up as a result of the hamate bone surgery… but thanks for pointing that out, because you’re right: It’s a fixable issue.

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