That was phrase attributed to Winston Churchill, but Jason Schmidt must have adopted it as his mantra as well. Admittedly, he’s not the same pitcher he once was. His fastball was 87-89, with 89 being his fastest pitch. He claims that he can pitch 91-92, but can’t control it, so he backs off a little. Here’s what Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com quotes Jason Schmidt as saying:
“If I aired it out from pitch one to 100, I could get to 91 or 92, but when I try to throw harder even a little bit, I can’t control it,” Schmidt said. “So, I have to pitch like it’s an easy bullpen [session]. I don’t like doing it that way, but it’s the only way that works and I’ve been getting people out during the rehab like that and I’m living with it.
“Winning tonight is very exciting. But it’s still a little frustrating knowing what I used to be able to do. I feel like I’m kind of handicapped. I want to challenge hitters with every pitch. That was my intimidation before, that I could blow it by anybody, and it doesn’t work that way anymore. I was a bull in a china shop. Now I have to be cool and collected, throwing breaking balls with two strikes when I used to throw fastballs. It’s like night and day.”
During the first inning, I felt a real sadness for Jason, mistakenly thinking it was a sad ending for a once-great pitcher. That feeling proved short-lived as Jason Schmidt showed he wasn’t ready to give up yet and then proceeded to show how he can pitch – inside, outside, curve, change, fastball – wild enough that the hitters really didn’t want to “dig in.” There were times I felt I was watching Greg Maddux. Jason Schmidt will never win 20 games, but he won my admiration by working his way back for two years and then overcoming a disastrous first inning.
I am not ready to anoint him as our 5th starter, but after last night, I would not be surprised if he stepped up and seized the opportunity. Hopefully, Kershaw, Bills, McDonald and others can learn a thing or two from him. Jason will start at least one more game, unless the Dodgers trade for Halladay before then. You know Ned is serious about it when he sends Logan White and Vance Lovelace to scout him. He’s also looking as a number of other pitchers, according to Dylan Hernandez of The LA Times. I would like to see them get George Sherrill, but according to Dylan they are scouting a number of others.
Jason Schmidt used to blow people away, now he’s pitching with guile and guts, but you have to know one thing when you watch him – this guy Never, Never, Never Quit! In my book that makes him a winner.
FROM THE I TOLD YOU SO DEPARTMENT - When the Dodgers signed Will Ohman late in the spring, I said he wouldn’t be ready by opening day and was told “he’s a pro, he’ll be ready.” Yeah, they rushed him and now he can’t pitch. Pitchers need spring training. Listen to me next time!