Wooden's World of Baseball

Friday, July 04, 2008

Credit Where Credit Is Due

My disappointment—some might say disdain—with Ross Detwiler may have taken a turn last night.

Now the line last night was pretty mediocre:

6+IP, 8H, 4R, 4ER, 1HR, 1BB, 4K, 27BF, 6GO, 8FO

But, take away the first two innings...

4IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 0HR, 1BB, 1K, 14BF, 4GO, 7FO

There's a common misconception that lots of strikeouts means that a pitcher was "dominant." But this is why seeing things first hand is invaluable. And this was the first time I saw Ross do the mature thing and go with what was working when the time came. So instead of trying to overpower guys, he pitched to bad contact, though a lot of the outs throughout the night were hard and "at 'em."

The talk of the alteration of Detwiler's mechanics is now apparent to me. I was watching for it and when Ross missed it was usually up and/or away. His windup also seemed a little slower and more deliberate than usual. It appeared to my semi-trained eye that he was trying to feel for the "correct" release point, resulting in some "rainbow" curveballs and lower velocity.

But it did get better as the night progressed, and despite his wildness, there were no batters hit or diving to get out of the way. In fact, Detwiler seemed to be able to command inside quite well, enough to keep batters honest. And he was able to snap off a couple of nice 12-6 curves (side note: if the Pelicans' Scott Diamond manages to harness his breaking pitches, he'll be a name to remember).

And as I've posted previously here and elsewhere, while he pitched to just one batter in the 7th, it was the first time that he had pitched more than six innings in his professional career and the most batters he had faced in any game. This is the progress that I've been waiting to see.


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