Last night, as I sat in my hotel room here in beautifully warm (but smoggy) Phoenix, there was a special on the National Geographic channel about tornadoes. Of course, there was the inevitable comparison by eyewitnesses to a freight train. They all say that the twister has a palpable energy that you can feel it as it passes by you, hence the freight train analogy.
That's the closest I can come to telling you just how Rich Harden was pitching today. Throughout Hi Corbett Field in Tucson, there was a buzz every time Harden effortlessly sizzled another pitch in for a strike.
I don't know that I've ever seen such a combination of power and grace, of pure steam and location.
Nine strikeouts in 3.2 innings pitched. That's eleven outs, of which only two weren't strikeouts. Fourteen batters came to the plate, and only five didn't get K'd.
Harden has now struck out 18 batters in 8.2 innings pitched. Let that sink in a bit. That brings Harden's K/9 in the spring to 18.69, a staggering number. Of the 26 outs recorded by Harden, only eight have been by something other than a strikeout.