May 14, 2013
Chapter 38: The disappearing slider
After last week's start there were many things posted about Scott Kazmir's return to prominence; a 10-strikeouts, 0-walk performance will do that. And it's a great story. A young phenom flames out of baseball, pitches for an independent club called the Skeeters, then claws his way back into a major-league rotation, using his still effective stuff with new-found wisdom to become better than he was before. It's a nice narrative, and over the course of the season, it may come true. But tonight that wasn't the case.
Scott Kazmir went five innings last night, allowed six hits (including two home runs and a double), walked two, and only struck out three. That's not how the new-and-improved Kazmir was supposed to pitch, right? Part of it was because his slider wasn't working, and after he gave up a first-inning home run to Kevin Frandsen, he stopped throwing it:
"[The slider] wasn't good in the first inning, and then we just abandoned it. That's something that you know I'll get more confident in as I pitch. It won't happen anymore. Even my last two starts, it was effective especially as a strikeout pitch."
The Pitch/FX bears this out. Kazmir threw only 4 sliders last night, relying almost exclusive on his fastballs and a changeup. Removing the slider from his repetroire turned Kazmir into a rather pedestrian pitcher, and in retrospect it's an accomplishment that he was able to get through five innings without it.
Phillies starter Jonathan Pettibone was on a couple occasions one hit from losing control of the game. He did give up two-run single to Michael Brantley in the second inning, but didn't give up an RBI hit after that despite getting himself into some tricky situations. In the third inning, he loaded the bases without allowing a hit (a walk and two HBPs), but after Mark Reynold's bloop hit down the right field fell just foul, he got Reynolds to pop out to end the threat. He got through the fourth inning having had to only throw eight pitches, and that seemed to stabilize him. He pitched into the seventh inning, allow the good portion of Philadelphia's bullpen to carry the burden the rest of the way.
Due to the site troubles, I was unable to post the Final Score recap on time, so here are the usual components on that here:
Roll Call (31 Commenters)
|10||Mr. Bad Example||14|
|28||VA tribe fan||1|