John Smoltz update (if you're interested)

Smoltz was dominant in his Cards' debut today.  I mean, seriously dominant.  I'm just going to pull the first three innings from the play-by-play out so you can see something.

  Bottom 1st: San Diego
- E. Cabrera singled
- T. Gwynn safe at first on shortstop B. Ryan's fielding error, E. Cabrera to second
- A. Gonzalez grounded into double play second to shortstop to first, E. Cabrera to third, T. Gwynn out at second
- C. Headley struck out swinging


Bottom 2nd: San Diego

- K. Kouzmanoff struck out swinging
- W. Venable struck out looking
- N. Hundley struck out swinging

Bottom 3rd: San Diego

- L. Rodriguez struck out looking
- E. Mujica struck out swinging
- E. Cabrera struck out swinging


Yes, it's San Diego...but that's 7 straight strikeouts, 5 swinging.   He pitched a total of 5 innings, 3 hits, with 9 Ks.  There had been some discussion on this site as to whether he's actually a useful pitcher.  Now this is still just one game, but so far, it's looking like switching leagues (that's certainly not the Texas Rangers line-up he was facing, and PETCO is not the park at Arlington...) has really been good for him.  Those of us who argued that he wasn't finished now have something to point to, even though this is still a tiny sample size.

We heard a lot of talk about how good Pedro looked in giving up 3 runs over 5 innings, but this is a big time performance for a contending team.  And, if we know Smoltzie, you can be sure he's itching to start a few postseason games for them.  With the lead the Cards have in the central, combined with the recent injury to Kyle Lohse, he may just get his chance.  For what it's worth, I'm wishing him all the best (unless he faces the Braves).

His game chart isn't up yet, but I can't imagine his stuff has changed.  His Pitch F/X for his previous starts looked encouraging-his fastball and slider remain dominant pitches for him, and he still has a curveball that he can throw to left handers.  The difference between the velocity on his fastball and change-up is not what it was 2 years ago, but it's still enough difference to keep the change-up effective.  As long as his BABIP doesn't shoot back up into the .390 range (which it shouldn't, as that's unsustainable), he should be fine for the rest of the season (though probably not as good as he was today).

This FanPost does not express the views or opinions of Talking Chop.

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