Brice Harper was said to look “awful” in the 14 inning loss to the Yankees yesterday. I appreciate Mike Axica’s (RAB) opinion, and will watch his appearances closely today. I saw the flexible yet powerful swing with a flourish miss, but I ascribed that to the difficulty of shaping and timing Andy’s sweeping slider*.
Faster than a curve, it’s there and it’s not. I wish I understood the pitch better, but it’s said that Andy changes the speed (and presuming now, the spin), so it’s not a mere matter of plotting its course by known parabola. Each pitch requires its own quick interocular calculation, and as natural a hitter as Bryce is, it may present difficulty, especially imaginable at this highest level. Oh, and he calls it a “cutter,” though I think it was Coney disagreed; Al Leiter talked about the changing speeds.
So, I did not see him as “awful,” but just “off.” Given the emotional letdown and guilt/shame/sssshit! Feeling he doubtless holds, I wouldn’t be surprised to see extremes today. Ivan throws curves, which I believe Bryce would handle – I remember vivdly his liner on a Phil Hughes inside curve in spring training. Ivan needs to resurrect the tightness on his patented slider in at the lefty’s knees, and produce drive that puts sink in his fastball, or Bryce will redeem his spotted reputation.
I would be disappointed to see Bryce flail: there certainly is a hate-ability quotient to the guy, but I am trying to be fair, and, hopefully, enjoy the rise of a young Mickey Mantle. But, I want the Yankees to win, and Ivan to succeed long term, so I hope that his determination to beat Bryce is greater.
*While maintaining the proper mix of expectancy for fastball or changeup, and mood of confidence or determination to succeed