A pitcher who works quickly and throws strikes brings joy to the hearts of his teammates, his coaches, and his fans. Evidence shows that fast workers benefit from improved defense, and the virtues of getting ahead in the count are clear. But watching Jon Lieber yesterday one couldn’t help wondering if it’s possible to be too—for lack of a better term—good. Through his first three innings, all scoreless, Lieber only reached one 2-ball count. Then, with a 1-2 count to Aubrey Huff with an out (sic?) in the fourth, Lieber sent a pitch down the middle, and Huff deposited it in the right field seats. One wonders just why a hittable pitch was left anywhere near the strike zone on such an advantageous count. Lieber’s reputation as a strike-thrower should only make batters more prone to the chasing of pitches.
If only it were possible to meld Get-Ahead Lieber with Fall-Behind Contreras—who has a fantastic out pitch but so much trouble positioning himself to use it—then you’d really have something special.