A Message To You, Jimy

Jimy Williams, you are a silly little man, you work in a silly little stadium and you have an M missing from your silly little name.

Let me tell you a story, Jimy. Have you ever heard of a guy named Bobby Cox? He runs a team called the Braves. One day last summer, Cox and his Braves were in San Francisco playing the Giants, just like your Astros are doing this week in Houston. Bobby Cox twice told his pitchers in crucial situations to pitch around Barry Bonds but not walk him intentionally. Or perhaps he told them to go ahead and challenge Bonds. We may never know what really happened, except this: the pitchers came a wee bit close to the strike zone and Bonds deposited the horsehide beyond the reach of the Braves outfielders, both times winning the game in question. He did so even when everyone this side of the Central Asian steppes was saying the same thing: Don't pitch to Barry. Don't!..wait!..what are you...I told you not!...Bobby, for the love of...what in blazes...

See? I told you.

Jimy? Hello? See? I told you.

Now it remains to be seen if Bonds sees a fastball for the rest of the year in situations where he can bring the Giants to at least within six runs of the lead. Otherwise, it's four fingers and pray for an indictment.

Other notes from opening day:

* Matt Herges: ready to close. Octavio Dotel: not ready to close. Not exactly in a save situation, Dotel gave the game away by throwing his slider 53 feet on two occasions, once hitting Tony Torcato in the foot and once moving Torcato to third base where he scored on a sacrifice fly. As Elvis Presley used to say, "Well thanka verra much." Herges whipped through the Astros' 1-2-3 hitters with nasty fastballs. I love that guy.

* Felix Rodriguez: new lease on life? One inning isn't quite enough of a sample size, but Felix looked awfully good pitching inside. Yes, he threw to the inside part of the plate with a two-seam fastball. Almost as stunning as Marquis Grissom walking in the eighth inning. Felix mowed down Ensberg, Ausmus and Vizcaino, so let's not get too excited. But it was a good start.

* Pedro Feliz: Psst, guess what? He can't hit a breaking pitch. Even the Astros know. When Pe'-Fe' came up to pi'-hi' in the 6th, Astros pitching coach Burt Hooton came to the mound and said, "Uh, Roy, don't throw him a fastball in a fastball count. Thanka verra much." Roy (Oswalt) threw him curve after curve and finally got him on a comebacker. If he can't prove to the league he can drive the breaking stuff, Feliz's only hits will come off scrub pitchers with mediocre stuff. And that's not good enough.

* Leo Estrella: Doug Melvin, or whoever the Brewers' GM is these days, covered his flat-screen TV with spittle, he was laughing so hard watching Estrella lengthen the Astros lead from 2-1 to 4-1 with an assortment of 88-MPH nonsinkers and nonsliders. Bwah-ha-ha-ha-hah, Melvin said and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

* A.J. Pierzynski: two two-strike singles. For a big man, he really can shorten his stroke. Earlier in the count, he whiffed on good fastballs from Oswalt and Lidge but shortened up and dunked a couple singles into center field. Good hitting. I still argue that he'd be a 2-spot hitter against lefties when Snow is on the bench.

* Kirk Rueter: That was one of the most impressive pitching outings I've seen in a long while. At least in the last four or five months. But seriously, Rueter was one hit away from total meltdown with the bases loaded in the 2nd inning, but he got a little lucky with that Kent tapper that was ruled a fair ball; Kent ran into it as he left the batter's box and was out. Most impressive, though, was how Woody stuck with his game plan: fastballs and changeups on the outside corner at the knees with the occasional curve. He did not waver. And he rallied from a near-disastrous start to give the Giants six very strong innings, 2 ER, 0 Ks, 5 Hs, 3 BBs. Hail Woody.


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