I swear I'm not making this up, but earlier Wednesday, I happened to see a quote attributed to Hall of Famer Greg Maddux that he may or may not have said but certainly sounds like something he would say: "No need to steal the sign. I'll tell you what I throw. It's an 89 mph sinker, and you won't even swing at it."
Watching John Means befuddle the Seattle Mariners with a bunch of sinkers in his no-hitter reminded me of an old-school Maddux or Tom Glavine performance. The Baltimore Orioles left-hander worked side to side, sinkers on the inside part of the plate, changeups away, with an occasional curveball mixed in for a different look.
In and out, in and out, exactly the way Maddux and Glavine pitched. It's a different style of pitching than you typically see today, as the favored craft is a more vertical approach, with high-velocity fastballs up in the zone and breaking balls to change the batter's eye level.
It's pure power pitching, and given the strikeout rates, it's working. Means' game, like those of Maddux and Glavine, feels more like the thinking man's guide to pitching, beguiling batters with location, movement and changing speeds. It's perhaps a more artistic form of pitching, and Means' outing on Wednesday was a thing of beauty.