May 31, 2009: John Smoltz (29) of the Boston Red Sox talks to the media
after pitching a rehab assignment for the Greenville Drive, Class A affiliate
of the Boston Red Sox, in a game against at Fluor Field at the West End
in Greenville, S.C. Photo by: Tom Priddy/MiLB.com
John Smoltz thumbed his nose at everyone who snubbed him yesterday by making a fine debut with the Cardinals.
Of course, John is too much a gentleman to ever really thumb his nose at anyone, but you get my drift. He showed ’em. He still has it.
Here’s what Matthew Leach of MLB.com had to say: “John Smoltz dazzled in his Cards debut, shutting down the Padres on three hits over five scoreless innings while setting a club record with seven straight strikeouts.”
“He struck out nine, including seven in a row at one point — a number that according to some outlets is a club record, though the Cardinals could not confirm that. Smoltz also beat out a double-play ball to keep a pivotal rally going, and scored his team’s first run by hustling home from second on a single.”
In another story, Leach quotes Cards coaches who believe Smoltz was unsuccessful during his stint with Boston because he was tipping his pitches to opposing batters.
“Among the various explanations for the five shutout innings Smoltz pitched — highlighted by nine strikeouts — was that he and the Cardinals believe he may have stopped tipping his pitches to opposing hitters, particularly when he pitched from the stretch. The Cardinals’ staff had the right-hander make an adjustment following a bullpen session he threw on Thursday, and the results were hard to argue with.”