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“Sure, Kazmir has a more refined and nuanced approach to pitching than he did five years ago. But he’s also managed to reverse the ravages of time on his fastball: he’s averaging 92.5 miles per hour with his four-seam fastball, essentially identical to the 92.7 from 2008, and he’s throwing his two-seamer, at 92.3 miles per hour, is the fastest it’s been since 2007.
So when Scott Kazmir says he thinks he can be even better now, at age 29, than he was before he suffered a dramatic fall that ends most pitching careers, it isn’t crazy. With the tools still at his disposal, and superior knowledge, it actually makes sense.” [Howard/Sports on Earth]
“This is bad. This is the anti-Greg Little, the anti-Tristan Thompson. Have any of you played for a high school coach who would be ok with you walking after a dropped ball in practice? Me neither. When national football watchers are “shocked” that you “loaf a lot” it’s time to take inventory. Gordon looks like AJ Green when he steps on the field. Green, like Greg Little, had a team suspension in college. We’d feel a lot better about Gordon’s suspension(s) if they fell in the category of ‘enterprising college athlete’ and not ‘recidivist slave to drugs to the point of jeopardizing millions of dollars.’” [Kanick]
“Well, he ought to be. It would be much easier if Dwyane Wade were himself. That’s another story: Wade’s ability to buttress James in this series, as he did in the Finals against the Mavericks, has vanished. His sore knee is one thing. His halfhearted defense is another. But that’s not a new issue: James entered this series knowing he was going to have to carry Wade.
In 2007, James was wide-eyed and underequipped for such a task. In 2011, James was locked into some sort of bizarro world in which he looked at J.J. Barea and thought he was seeing Bill Russell. But now, James’ eyes are wide open.” [Windhorst/ESPN]
“On May 10, when Kluber gave up eight runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Tigers, the initial thought was that he was sliding back to some of the missteps he made last season. That rough outing is looking more and more like a fluke. In six turns since that forgettable start, Kluber has posted a 3.09 ERA with 37 strikeouts against six walks in 35 innings. In his 10 appearances other than the May 10 start, he has a 3.08 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP, 53 strikeouts and 10 walks in 52 2/3 innings. What’s going on with this guy?” [Bastian/MLB.com]
A look at Horton’s defensive tendencies from Arizona. [Kolonich/The OBR]