In case you missed it last night, 46 year old Jaime Moyer won a pitcher's duel against 42 year old Greg Maddux. So what? A couple of old guys pitched well, who cares? I do because quite simply, there is something special about their efforts. These guys are like the Yoda's of pitching. And perhaps the coolest part of Maddux and Moyer is that they consistently show all the young pitchers out there how it should be done.
1. Both guys went 7 innings AND less than 100 pitches
In this era of pitchers failing to be economical in their pitches (Sean Gallagher on Thursday, 91 pitches, 4 innings), Moyer and Maddux have proven to be masters at their craft. Neither throws hard, but wow, they sure do know how to control their pitches, move the ball around, and entice hitters to swing at pitcher's pitches.
2. Both guys have ERAs of less than 4
How amazing is this? Here are two guys who don't throw over 85 MPH, but they can make hitters sure look foolish (I would know because they are both Met killers). So for all you young pitchers out there, pitching is less about velocity and power and more about precision and location. Their ERAs are proof of that. These guys are tremendous.
3. Limit the Walks
Right along the lines of being economical, both of these guys can locate their pitches and remain in pitchers counts. To me, this is probably the skill that young pitchers today have yet to master. To many pitchers today enable hitters to dominate the count or at least be able to work the count back into their favor (3-2, 2-1, 1-0). Moyer and Maddux are great at getting ahead early and then having hitters swing at pitches that Moyer and Maddux want them to swing at.
4. Old People
They are a combined 88 years old, but no one can fight with the numbers. Maddux is 6-9 with a 3.99 ERA while Moyer has a remarkable 11-7 with a 3.64 ERA. So the question is simple, when will they call it quits? If the economics of baseball have any say, then never will be a good answer. Moyer and Maddux obviously will not be hot free agents, but I would want either of them on my team (especially Moyer). They are great teachers of the game and I expect both to get some interesting offers for the 2009 baseball season instead of playing shuffleboard in Boca.