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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
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5) discussing politics
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Ishii Success Plays Head Games on Writer
2003-04-17 09:10
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

I worry about losing my credibility.

When a pitcher throws seven shutout innings, allowing three hits and three walks, I should be able to praise him, shouldn't I?

How can I defend .204-hitting Adrian Beltre one day, and in the same week, still raise questions about Kazuhisa Ishii after Wednesday night's winning performance?

Ishii only had to face 24 batters in his seven innings (thanks to three double plays). Ishii was even ahead of most of the hitters he faced, getting first-pitch strikes on 15.

Yet from my seat at the stadium, Ishii just didn't look that good to me. He doesn't have exceptional speed on his fastball, and I don't detect any remarkable movement on most of his pitches, either. But even if that's true, and not merely guesswork from an observer who is by no stretch a pitching expert, however bad Ishii may have looked, Beltre has looked just as bad.

And yet Beltre's the one I defend. Why?

Perhaps it's that by comparison, I see other Dodger pitchers doing so well, whereas I see so few hitters doing much of anything, so I don't see how you can't be more hopeful for Beltre.

Perhaps it's because I feel Ishii has gotten lots of slack during his 1 1/6 seasons with the Dodgers. No one seemed to notice that his ERA was high despite a winning record last season, and everyone seems to think that placement in the bullpen is out of the question for him. Whereas Beltre seems to have been on the hot seat ever since sympathy for his near-death appendecitis faded into the Chavez Ravine gloaming.

Maybe it's nothing more than rooting for the underdog.

Ultimately, I believe that both Ishii and Beltre can be assets for the Dodgers. But in this head of mine, I have much more patience for Beltre. Ishii falls behind a hitter, and I slump in my seat, cringing. Beltre falls behind a pitcher, and I lean forward in my seat, hoping.

Like it says on the upper-right-hand corner of this page, some of these issues may be psychological. I'm always trying to see my way clear in writing objectively about the Dodgers, but it's an ongoing process.

Anyway, it was a fun game last night and I'm glad that Ishii did well.

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