|Kat's Contemplations: Greg Maddux||| Print ||
Written by Katherina DiChristina (Contact & Archive) on September 28, 2003
Cy Young pitched in an era where 30 wins were the equivalent of 20 wins. Where there were 3 and 4 man rotations. When the mound was higher, the dead ball era. All of those differences go in his favor.
Greg Maddux pitches in a time where there are 5 man rotations, the mound is lower, the likes of Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds are playing, and starters rarely go past 7 innings. Extremely different environment we're talking about here.
Cy Young and Greg Maddux have solely one thing in common - Consistency. That's pretty much what you can call Maddux, Mr. Consistency. He has been that way for as long as he has been in the league. You can no longer count on him to finish what he starts every time, but you can count on him to give you a chance to win, to keep the defense on their toes, to pitch quickly, and rarely throw more than 10 pitches an inning. In his historic 15th win last Sunday Maddux pitched 5 innings, throwing 43 pitches, allowing one hit giving up no runs. He would have been out in the 3rd having been hit by a Juan Pierre grounder on his ankle, but he wanted this win too much, so he sucked it up until the end of 5 to get the bare minimum of innings allowed to earn the win.
The next closest to Cy and Greg is Gaylord Perry with 13 seasons of 15 or more wins. Including Maddux, only 7 pitchers in history have had 10 or more seasons of 15 or more wins. That’s pretty special, and puts Greg Maddux in some of the most elite company. We already knew that he was an outstanding pitcher, but to be healthy for this long, and never have some freak injury, well that’s just amazing.
As any opposing hitter knows, Greg Maddux is not just a fabulous pitcher; he’s the whole package. You might hear people say that he has a baseball mind. Maddux knows how to do the basics, the fundamentals. Need a bunt to move the runner over? He’s got it. Got a game you just can’t afford to lose? Call Greg up. Along with that, he’s the absolute best fielding pitcher I can say I’ve ever seen. He’s on a team with guys like John Smoltz and Mike Hampton, who are great fielders themselves, but seeing Greg Maddux turn into an infielder in a split second just makes them look like nothing.
Maddux won’t ever throw a 97 mph fastball. He’ll never throw a knee-buckling curve, and he is never too concentrated on getting one guy out. Once he has gotten to the hitter, he is already thinking about how to get the guy behind them out. He makes hitters look foolish, swinging at balls that could be 10 feet away from them. Maddux counts on the hitters to get themselves out trying too hard to hit his pitches.
Greg Maddux has had a very off year, starting the 2003 season horribly, but he still only has 33 walks. As unpredictable as he was early on in the season, he has quickly gotten himself together, and maintained his reputation as one of the best pitchers in the league. At the all star break Greg had an ERA of 4.63. FOUR POINT SIXTY-THREE. For Greg Maddux that is unheard of, unless he had a really bad opening day start. Since the all star break he has an ERA of 3 and has only lost 3 games, winning 8.
For those of us that never got to see Warren Spahn, or Gaylord Perry, or any such consistent starters of the past such as Cy Young, watching Greg Maddux has been an absolute thrill.