|10-18-2001, 04:31 PM||#1|
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Southern CA
ERA = mc2?
Interesting piece. How much credit should Bob Welch get for not only what he's done with Batista, but keeping Johnson from tiring out all season long and returning Curt Schilling to dominance?
An unlikely source of Batista's rebirth
By THOMAS STINSON
Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer
Phoenix -- His career adrift, his major-league record a dismal 13-24 as he wandered through six organizations, Miguel Batista reached the Arizona Diamondbacks last spring, his third team in two years, and did something completely different.
He hung a picture of Albert Einstein in his locker.
"He says that talent and knowledge has a limit," the 30-year-old right-hander said. "You know what you know, and you do what you can. But imagination is unlimited. You can't predict the future, but you can invent it."
He really talks that way. This is what the Braves were up against in Game 2 of the NLCS, an enlightened man with a suddenly enlightened career who the Diamondbacks charged with staking a 2-0 lead in the series. Batista was dominating against the Braves, but the two hits that he allowed -- home runs to Marcus Giles and Javy Lopez -- were the key blows in the team's 8-1 loss.
To those who believe -- and they are legion -- that Arizona's rotation starts with Randy Johnson and ends one man later with Curt Schilling, the Diamondbacks differ.
"He has been an integral part of this pitching staff and this team," Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly said. "I seriously doubt we would be here had it not been for the contributions of Miguel Batista."
After playing poorly in Kansas City last season (2-6, 7.74), he was an unnoticed free agent signing in Arizona, where pitching coach Bob Welch re-taught him to pitch. Working middle relief as well as starting, he set career highs in victories (11-8), ERA (3.36) and innings (139 1/3).
"What I remember [when he was] in Montreal, he was a power guy, threw the ball awfully hard out of the strike zone, was a little bit wild," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "The next time we saw him, he was a pitcher. Somebody's done a real good job with him, of making his pitch."
It showed in September. With the Diamondbacks locked in an NL West duel with San Francisco, Batista allowed two runs in his last three starts (19 innings), beating Los Angeles twice. Once the league division series began, he allowed St. Louis two runs in six innings of Game 3, and Arizona won 5-3.
The Diamondbacks are also the first winning team Batista has ever pitched for, as well as the best fielding team in the National League.
"I played for six teams and we end up last every year -- last in fielding, last in hitting," Batista said. "It's hard for a pitcher when you have to pitch defensively to win."
It's such a fine line between stupid and clever.
|10-18-2001, 06:33 PM||#2|
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NetShrine WHQ
Andy - nice job with the clip and the link - thanks for paying attention.
Not that many guys "find it" at age 30 and in their 6th organization. He has to do it again to convince me. Although, the 30/6 trick is basically what Rick Reed did (was 31/6) - - so, perhaps the D-backs found a starter for the next 5 years?
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