April 11, 2010 |
David Herndon learned how to throw his sinker by accident as a sophomore in college. Now it's just about the only pitch he throws. Herndon has been a revelation for the Phillies after the team took a flier on him as a Rule 5 pick during the off-season. He didn't allow a run the entire spring. Through three major-league outings and 3 1/3 innings, he remains spotless. He has done it by throwing sinkers on 78.9 percent of his pitches. So how does he get by with one pitch? Herndon shrugged when asked.
April 23, 1996 |
Baseball, at times, can be a simple game. For Phillies lefthander Terry Mulholland (and most pitchers, for that matter), all the technical stuff involving radar guns and release points, all the scouting reports on strengths and weaknesses and setting up hitters, all the seam-head mumbo-jumbo about left-right percentages and late-inning pressure situations can be boiled down to two simple equations: Pitches down = Good. Pitches up = Bad. Einstein probably could have invented an obtuse mathematical formula to explain that principle.
March 21, 1991 |
The saga of the mystery man continues. It looked for awhile yesterday as if Bruce Ruffin, the lefty phenomenon of '86, would satisfy the expectations of his manager - namely, that he would protect a lead in the waning moments of a ball game. The expectation was that Ruffin would pitch three innings, throwing the sinker that bewitched National League batters five years ago. But he has struggled ever since, and this spring he has embarked on yet another quest to find himself.
March 4, 2010 |
So far in his career, Cole Hamels has thrown two pitches - a fastball and a change-up - with consistent effectiveness. He is trying to augment those this spring by improving his curveball and adding a cutter. But Hamels' efforts to diversify go still further. The 26-year-old lefthander is also working on a sinker this month. The sinker, or two-seam fastball, induces ground-ball outs, which in turn can reduce pitch counts and allow Hamels to pitch deeper into games. Hamels actually tinkered with the pitch in several games last summer.
October 10, 2008 |
For Derek Lowe, it was the ultimate "What if?" game, the kind of night where he wished he could have taken back the two pitches that eventually doomed the Los Angeles Dodgers in the opener of the National League Championship Series. Lowe had his masterful sinker ball working for the first five innings but found that the pitch abandoned him in the sixth, when Chase Utley and Pat Burrell hit home runs for all of the Phillies' scoring in their 3-2 win over the Dodgers last night at extremely loud Citizens Bank Park.
April 22, 2013 |
After he threw 109 pitches Friday, Roy Halladay declared it "was about as close as I've felt to where I want to be. " Halladay has made four starts in 2013 and the evolution has been constant. That was more than evident in Halladay's pitch selection. He relied on his sinker more than ever while with the Phillies. Against St. Louis, Halladay threw his sinker 50 times, according to Pitch F/X data. Research by ESPN Stats & Info showed it was the most frequently Halladay has used his sinker in a game since the beginning of 2009.
February 25, 2012 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The pile of envelopes in Vance Worley's locker slowly disappeared Friday. One by one, Worley signed each baseball card with a blue sharpie and inscribed his number, 49, at the end of his name. "See this one?" he said, pointing to a card. "Look at the gloss. It won't stick. " Fan mail comes in larger quantities now, just one adjustment for the 24-year-old righthander now firmly a member of the Phillies rotation. Last spring, Worley was sent to minor-league camp almost two weeks before opening day. By summer, a city was captivated by the bespectacled pitcher who hopped off the mound every time he recorded a strikeout.
June 14, 2009 |
Kyle Kendrick's most recent major-league stint lasted less than 24 hours, and his development is far from complete. After being recalled from triple-A Lehigh Valley on Friday afternoon and losing Friday night's 13-inning game against Boston, the righthander was optioned back to Lehigh, and lefthanded reliever Sergio Escalona was recalled. Kendrick won 21 games for the Phillies in 2007 and 2008, but did so primarily with his sinker. Demoted in spring training with orders to work on his change-up and cutter, Kendrick was earnestly engaged in that process when Scott Eyre strained his left calf Thursday night in New York.
March 9, 2016 |
BRADENTON, Fla. - Vince Velasquez threw just 882/3 innings last season, a byproduct of a back injury, some back-and-forth stints in the minors, and a bullpen assignment. But the 23-year-old righthander has another idea to explain why he was unable to log more innings. "I went deep into counts," Velasquez said. "I was throwing a lot of pitches. I had a lot of short games because I threw straight fastballs. " That, he said, is why he is dedicated to throwing more sinkers, a pitch he rarely used.
May 28, 2009 |
Pitching yesterday for the Lakewood BlueClaws, J.C. Romero, who will turn 33 next week, felt a little like a Dutch uncle dispensing advice to wide-eyed 18-to-22-year-olds. "I said, 'Listen, just because you're a professional athlete, there are some things that come with the territory,' " the lefthanded reliever said after pitching two perfect innings for the Phillies single-A club. Lakewood won, 5-3, over West Virginia. "They have to understand what is normal for everybody else can sometimes be a problem for us," Romero said.