Fieldview: Lind, Thigpen and Chiefs Pitching

Fieldview: Lind, Thigpen and Chiefs Pitching

Today's edition of Fieldview takes a look at Adam Lind back in the outfield for the Chiefs, Curtis Thigpen back at catching, the Chiefs pitching problems, and the solid performance of Brandon League.

Almost two weeks came and went without baseball.

Tumble weeds rolled through an empty Alliance Bank Stadium as Syracuse played a seven game roadie leading up to the All-Star break. The Chiefs returned home Thursday night and the Pawtucket Red Sox greeted them with a 9-5 win.

It's a different team than the one I saw back in June. Some of those differences were featured prominently on Thursday. Here's what I saw.

Adam Lind hit third

Finally, It's good to have a big time prospect in Syracuse. Adam isn't here to improve attendance, but to work on his plate discipline. Known for being a bit of free swinger, Lind showed the ability to take a few pitches in this one. He went 2-3 with a couple of walks. He made just one out and it was a screamer that starting pitcher David Pauley barely got leather on. He didn't push the issue, working from behind and drawing a full count walk in the fifth.

I don't think the Blue Jays are trying to entirely tame Lind. The kid is used to hitting balls at his ankles and in his eyes. Chiefs manager Doug Davis says he needs to work on his on-base percentage. A swing at anything approach isn't as effective against big league pitching. I think the demotion might have taught him that all important lesson.

Thigpen back catching

Curtis Thigpen traded in his catching equipment for some lumber.

While with the Jays, Thigpen helped fill-in for the injured Lyle Overbay, and didn't need to get behind the plate. Now the major league super utility player is back at his old spot, catching for the Chiefs.

Curtis hasn't stopped hitting. His was on base all night. When all hands are on deck, he's the ideal two-hitter for this squad.

But throwing out runners is still a problem. Thigpen went 0-2 on steal attempts. I like Curtis, he's a fantastic young athlete, but one throw was so far off line that an old woman sitting behind me screamed, ''who the hell are you throwing at, do you need glasses?"

I am willing to give Thigpen a free pass. It's been a while since he's gotten back there, and before the call-up he was showing improvement.

In the sixth, Sal Fasano came in to catch, and Thigpen got the rest of the night off. It's not an injury concern, Davis just wants to ease Thigpen back into playing the position on an every day basis.

Pitching, we have a problem

Manager Doug Davis was not pleased with the starting pitching after the loss, and he made no bones about it.

"I thought the pitching was poor. It was the reason why we lost. We got our runs back, our guys just didn't get outs."

Josh Banks was tonight's starter. He couldn't stay ahead of hitters to save his life. Pitching coach Rick Langford said Bank's main problem was elevated pitches. Banks calmed down a bit later when he started to throw his splitter for strikes. Still though, five runs in five innings isn't good enough most nights.

Brandon League got an inning of work. I noticed that he didn't look right warming up. The radar gun kept flashing 87. There was an unusual spin on his pitches.

League is using a two-seam fastball these days. I thought he was overthrowing during his warm-up tosses and his wildness carried over to the game when he pegged Jacoby Ellsbury in the shins. League looked like he was having trouble, but he still managed to work a scoreless frame. Pitching coach Rick Langford promises the velocity will return. He expects League's sinking fastball to get back in the upper 90s once he consistently returns to throwing from the same arm slot.

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