Two weeks ago, John Smoltz left Boston a washed up failure. Then one bullpen session with the Cardinals and suddenly he's a future Hall of Famer again. All because his teammates figured out what Boston coaches couldn't.
Smoltz's tenure with the Red Sox could not have gone much worse than it did. He gave up 25 runs in his last four starts before Boston pulled the plug, signaling what looked like the end of his career. So St. Louis rolled the dice on him and then quickly solved his pitching difficulties with a revolutionary training technique known as watching him pitch.
Coaches noticed right away his foot was slipping off the pitching rubber, so they told him to stop doing that. Then starter Chris Carpenter noticed that Smoltz was tipping his pitches on the mound. So they told him to not do that either. The result? Five scoreless innings, no walks and nine strikeouts, including seven in a row. Was that so difficult?
In an interview with Dan Patrick today, Smoltz graciously did not blame the Red Sox for his sucking, nor did he point out that the Cardinals are eight games in front of their division while the Red Sox are 7.5 games down in theirs. I'm sure these many things are not related.
John Smoltz says he was tipping his pitches [Dan Patrick]