ST. LOUIS -- On the two occasions that he has caught Greg Maddux, rookie catcher Nick Hundley has gained a sense of appreciation for not only what Maddux is capable of doing once he lets go of a ball, but what he does leading up to every pitch.
"It's amazing," Hundley said before the start of Saturday's game against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. "He knows what he wants to do, knows his plan going into the game for every hitter. That gives him such freedom on the mound. He's so prepared."
Hundley, recalled from Triple-A Portland on July 4, was behind the plate during Friday's 11-7 loss to the Cardinals, a game in which Maddux allowed six runs on eight hits over four innings, his shortest start of the season.
Hundley, 24, also caught Maddux's previous start on July 12 against the Atlanta Braves, when he allowed three runs over seven innings in a no-decision. Maddux hasn't won a game in his last 13 decisions dating back to May 10.
Maddux not only watches video of opposing hitters, but has what some players say in an uncanny ability to remember hitters and particular situations from his past, dating back several years in some cases.
"He has faced these guys a long time now, faced [Albert] Pujols a lot, faced [Atlanta's] Chipper [Jones] in his last start, a lot," Hundley said. "He knows a lot about the game. But he also remembers and knows how to set guys up."
That doesn't always ensure positive results, as evidenced by Friday's start. But that has not stopped Hundley from marveling at what the 42-year-old Maddux, with 351 career victories, is able to do before a start and often during it.
"He'll try and work and get that hitter to do what he wants them to do. He's a master at that. It's not always about striking guys out, but getting them to hit a fly ball or a ground ball. It's what he wants them to do," Hundley said.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.