(Image from Fangraphs – only takes into account game 1 data)
I did not get to watch the game in real time, so I caught up on MLB.tv videos. They had one of JV’s nine strikeouts, which I have now watched three times. Let’s review his strikeouts by inning, count & pitch type.
I can’t remember JV throwing his change-up for strikeouts this much. Historically, he throws it about 15% of the time overall. The Ks on change-ups tonight are great news, because I believe JV relies too much on his fastball in high-pressure situations, and I’m hoping that games like tonight will grant him more confidence in his off speed stuff. For example, against the Yankees, 6 of his Ks were on fastballs, and the 1 each on a curve and change-up. In fact, of the 16 pitches he threw to Teixeira, 13 of them were fastballs, including the one Tex parked in RF.
JV went to a 3 ball count four times tonight, and threw his fastball on each occasion. Two went for walks, and he got a K on one in the first. In game 1 versus the Yankees, it looks like he went to a 3 ball count nine times (the MLB.com data is not complete), and threw a fastball every time.
Thus, while his 3 ball pitch of choice is still the heater, at least he went to his off speed stuff for the strikeout pitches. Against the O’s tonight, his strikeout pitches were pretty equally distributed: 2 FA, 4 CU and 3 CH. Again, I know it’s early, but I’m hoping that this little snippet will allow him to throw his change more often on 3 ball counts.
What do you make of it?