Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Kirsch-mas in Finale, Ames Blister & Faria Delivery

The Biscuits wrapped the regular season with a lunchtime date against their Steel City rivals. The teams were sunning themselves and gave a speedy performance and Monty took the contest three to one.

Before the game someone asked me who was pitching, I pointed towards the bullpen at the pitcher warming up and exclaimed "Its Kirsch-mas Day!"

Indeed the lefty Chris Kirsch was dealing, working six innings and punching out nine in an impressive outing.

Absolutely dominant, Kirsch tallied his third victory of the season and his best outing in a Skitz uni to date.

On some of our past teams Kirsch would be among the best hurlers in the rotation. Yet on this squad he falls to fifth starter amid guys who are leading all of the minors in wins (Faria) and setting Biscuit records for strikeouts (Schultz).

Kirsch's tough luck 3w-4L record doesn't jump off the page so fans tend to overlook the southpaw who was drafted by two other teams before signing with the Rays in 2012.

LHP Chris Kirsch
On this day Chris Kirsch was brilliant, posting a season high in strikeouts and allowing just one run. After being knocked around a bit in his last few outings, Kirsch may have turned the corner. Chris showed he was able to throw the ball even better than he was in his first three starts for the Skitz, which were all of the "six innings or more, three runs or less" Quality Start variety.

Chris showed no ill-effects or concussion symptoms after being beaned in the head with a foam giveaway ball on Friday, tossed with precision accuracy by some irresponsible, possibly drunken, bandwagon fan.

Runs were scored, Dayron Varona driving all three Biscuit tallies. A single in the first drove in Goeddel. With the bases loaded in the fifth inning Varona again singled this time driving in a pair and that was all Montgomery would need.
Goeddel scores the first run of the game

Relievers Garton, Lollis, Schreiber nailed down the back end of the ballgame, adding three strikeouts to the pile totaling a dozen Barons punched out on the afternoon.

Dayron Varona put the seal on the game with a diving catch in centerfield to end the contest and with it the Biscuits 2015 regular season.

The Barons looked a little out of it, ready to head home after a disappointing season that saw them fall from contention in the final month of the year.

What did the Brummies get for Kirsch-mas? A bunch of strikeouts, a loss and a long winter ahead to ponder their August swoon.

So, like other good rivalries this year, what did I do?
Of course, I took a picture!

Over on the home side there was a much different vibe on the bench, as one can well imagine.


I have checked every day with reliever Jeff Ames and his blistered thumb. He feels he is progressing nicely and hopes to be available for the playoff games vs Chattanooga in the first round.

Jeff told me what he and the trainers are using for it, after the first night it was covered in a tight bandaid and a zinc mixture to dry it. After a day or two it has been left uncovered and he let me get a shot of it. Not nearly as brutal as it looked on Friday, but still gives an idea of the size.

While it is common for pitchers to suffer blisters occasionally, Jeff says its not something that is a chronic problem for him and feels its a temporary setback. We talked about ways to build callouses and reduce blistering, as a guitar guy I have dealt with fingertip care for a long time. I suggested filling a bucket with sand and driving the hand into the sand, its said to build callouses and reduce blistering.

Other ideas we talked about were less appealing, old time players claim that urinating on your hands keeps them from blistering. But you don't get any more handshakes or high fives from teammates!

Handshakes and high fives in abundance for Dayron Varona after 3rbi's and a diving catch

I had a chance to talk with Jacob Faria for a few minutes before the game on Monday, hopefully he won't mind me sharing the details.

I asked him about his motion and delivery, his starting point is in front of his chest with his hands together in front of his chin, a little higher and farther in front than I see most pitchers so I quizzed him a little about how he developed his style.

Obviously having much success this year,  he credits adjustments made this past offseason. Jacob said he went to having the hands high in front and noticed it was effective for getting movement and staying on top of the ball during his delivery.

Jacob said once he adjusted his starting point he couldn't do it any other way, going back to his old motion seemed ineffective so he sticks with the high hands in front.

We talked a little about the pitches he throws, he mentioned that he no longer throws a split finger fastball. Many clubs ask their younger pitchers to refrain from the pitch to reduce stress on the elbow and ligaments, and maybe with good reason. Since Bruce Sutter started making a living on tossing splitters Tommy John surgery has skyrocketed.

When Jacob said he didn't throw the straight splitter anymore, I found it scary to think he is this good and isn't throwing what is some pitchers best pitch.

while not quite todays exact date, I found this a very pertinent item...

The season of the Southern Baseball League closed on September 2. None of the clubs made any money, but they had lots of fun.

In our next blog installment, a preview of the Biscuits vs the Lookouts in the Southern League Division Series. We will take a look at the Biscuits roster, which should be set Tuesday, as the team has been playing shorthanded the past week.

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