Jose Contreras is not 100%. Sure, he can throw his fastball with good velocity (90-91MPH), but he just does not currently have the control neccessary to be a successful major league pitcher.
After his last outing, we noted that Contreras was reluctant to use his forkball, throwing just 13 of them in his first two starts. Now we know why.
Contreras thew about that many forkballs as in his previous two outings combined, but unlike in those games these were noticable, and not for the right reasons. He bounced at least 5 of them well in front of the plate, way in front of the plate. Others, like his 5th inning offering to Luke Scott, did nothing but hang there begging to be hit hard. Scott did just that, pounding the ball to right field to give the O's a lead they would never relinquish.
By my count Contreras threw 2 forkballs that could be classified as "good" if you ignored the fact that they danced out of the zone and failed to induce a swing.
It's scary to think that maybe Count really is 100%, maybe he is all the way back. He spent most of last season pitching just well enough to stay in the rotation and lose games. And that's exactly where he's picked up this year.
And he doesn't even need his full arsenal to do it.
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I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the Ozzie Guillen-managed Sox are now 2-6 against teams with starters making their major league debut. The Sox haven't come out on the winning end of such a game since 2006, when they beat these same O's and Jim Johnson, who coincidentally pitched in this game as well.
I should note that the Sox outpaced Charlotte's offensive output against Brad Bergesen by 50%. But, I'd also be forced to point out that Charlotte has the worst offense in the International League.