My 2007 spring/summer season


#1

I’d been throwing at least once per week through the cold winter…

Our first scrimmage was back a couple weeks ago against one of the best teams from last year. I came out and threw all fastballs, nothing else, allowing one run over three innings. The one-run was a cheap homerun to the second batter of the game. The fence was only about 250 to left field … in any case, my control was impeccable in this game. I think over the three innings I threw about 40 pitches, probobly only 8 balls. 4 ks.


#2

after two weeks of pre-season scrimmages being rained out, we played our second scrimmage on saturday, 3/31.

I’ve been doing a lot of core, leg and shoulder strength work, along with balancing excersizes and I think it’s really paying dividends as far as control. I’m also relatively pleased with some mechanical adjustments, but more on that later.

In this game I went the distace, 7 -innings. We usually play two 7-innning double headers.

I gave up three runs, only one of them earned. We were missing a lot of our regulars, and some of the guys defense was rusty.

I only walked one, and only struck out three. But I was “pitching to contact” for the most part. I threw mostly all fastballs again with an emphasis on throwing the ball inside. It definitly worked because six of their guys broke their bats. SIX! … kinda strange since I’m not a fireballer…

We’ve got one more scrimmage left before the season. I need to put my change and breaking ball more to the test next time out.


#3

final tune-up in the pre-season before it starts for real.

It was very cold out there. I ended up going five innings, 86 pitches, giving up 5 runs, only one earned, on three hits, two walks.

The D was very spotty. But we didn’t have all our starters behind me, so I’m not gonna sweat it.

I k’d 7 in five innnings, a high rate for me that I credit to the use of my changeup. It was definitly working wonders. A good sign.


#4

Awesome, Andrew! Good to hear you’re throwing well! How do you grip your change up?

I prefer throwing a circle-change, but I have another method I plan on trying out soon… Last summer, I toyed around with my release point-sort of like how one would throw a gyroball, but a little different, since I have a hard time with the mechanics involved in throwing a gyroball…

Anyways, I found it to be effective for pushing the ball down and away… But I couldn’t develop any consistency with it due to the fact that I didn’t have anyone to work on it with, and my coaches in fall ball did not allow me to work on the change-up… :evil:

I hope that makes sense…

Cliff:

Upon release point, I would slightly tilt my palm out, and drive the ball down, letting the ball glide off of my fingertips… lol, I think that explains it… I don’t know, but I found it to work… Two-one, this isn’t a new concept, and others probably do the same thing…

Also, I, too, hate pitching when it’s cold out, and even worse when I have to wait awhile to get back on the mound! I feel like I have to recharge myself, and throw a quick bullpen to warm my arm back up… But man, warm weather… Ahh… :slight_smile: Feels so good on the shoulder…!


#5

yeah, I throw a circle-change. I’m always tweaking the grip. I don’t really concentrate on how I release it. I just let the grip do the trick.


#6

we played our first official games of the year on Saturday night, 4/14 … I started the second game of our opening day double header.

The experience was a real leasson in making mechanical adjustments to compensate for less-than-perfect mound conditions.

The configuration of this mound was such that it was like a severe triangle … … the raise of the mound dropped sharply in the immediate area surrounding the rubber – meaning, out of the wind-up when you stepped back or to the side, it was unavoidable that you would be stepping off the slope, stepping down, and throwing off your balance.

this gave me all kinds of problems in the first inning, where I walked the leadoff guy and ended up giving up two runs. I was pissed about those runs. I walked off the mound in the first thinking “damn, there goes my shutout” … obviously, I was getting ahead of myself and not focusing, taking it one pitch at a time.

I knew I couldn’t let the mound get to me, and I was thinking about all those kids in third-world countries who play in alleys with milk-carton gloves, and that humbled me to the point where I wouldn’t let the mound be an excuse.

In my warmups for the second inning, I played around with my windup and the mound-conditions … finally I found out how to cope! I made my initial step back EXTREMELY compact. I’m talking like an inch. That’s all. And it worked beautifully. I was able to go into my leg lift on balance, and that’s when I found my groove.

For the game, I ended up giving up three runs (2-earned) in five innings (the game was called cuz of the 10-run rule), while striking out 9! Yes, 9 Ks. That is incredible for me. Obviously I wasn’t facing the toughest competition in the league, but to get that many ks is cool.

I credit the Ks in large part to my curve, which for the first time this year was back. They key was that I had been throwing it too hard, previously. On Saturday I just let it go nice and easy, and the break was freezing the hitters. This made a well-place fastball all the more dangerous.

I only threw a couple change-ups, but I was using my two seam as a slight change of pace. Running it down and in to righties produced a few swing and misses.


#7

pitched today on 4.21.07 … pitched the front end of a double header (two seven inning games)…

I pitched a complete game (6 innings, the game was called an inning earl b/c of the 10-run rule) … I limited them to one run, 5 ks, 1 BB.

I got by mostly on the fastball today, which people said was “popping” - I like to hear that.

My change was more of a “show-me” pitch today in that I threw it just enough so that the hitters new it was there.

My curve was sharp again, and I used it sparingly cuz my fastball was, as I said, “popping”

I used the two seam again for a slight change of pace. I got in two or three jams all day, and I really loved bearing down in those spots. I remember once in particular I threwa two seamer low and away and got a grouder to the left side just like I wanted.

With runners on base, the pressure is on the batter too, ya know. So I was thinking to play off their aggressiveness with that sinking two seamer away, letting them try to pull it.

Once today I threw a two seamer that sailed up at the letters and the guy drilled a triple. But at least I know why it happened.

Althogh we 10-runned the other team, that doesn’t mean they were cream-puffs, b/c they came out in game two and showed that they can swing the bats. They beat us in game two 10-6.


#8

not god. not that good last night, 4.28.07. Tough game.

In the first inning I struck out the side with two runners of base. It was quite an achievement, but it took A LOT out of me, I think. No runs got in, but it sort of set the tone. I didn’t have a perfect inning all night.

In the second and third, I had bouts of wildness. It was horrible. I think I was overthrowing, and I wasn’t throwing enough fastballs. When I throw so many changeups and curves, I lose the rhythm of my fastball.

So, fastforward, it’s tied 3 to 3 somewhere around the 4th inning or so, and I’m finally deciding just to keep the fastball low – breaking out the two-seam, finally – and pitch to contact. That’s what my game is. But then my D decided to abandon me. Errors led to two more runs.

We’re down 5 to 3 in the top of the last inning, and our bats showed a lot of heart, and we grab a 6 to 5 lead.

I’m on the mound, the bottom of the last inning, ready to put my stamp on the end of a thrilling victory that was a r e a l grind …

First guy hits one back to me on the ground, and I throw him out.

Second guy hits a grounder to third that is thrown away, another error. Damn! That was the second out riht there.

Then I lost focus and walked the next guy … I don’t remember how the lead runner got to third, but he ended up scoring and tieing the game on a grounder to short.

End result, the game ends in a tie, 6-6. (League rules are such that we do have ties, cuz they had to get the second game in of the double header)

I went 7 innings, 3 earned runs, and 7 ks. Maybe 3 or 4 walks. Way too many deep counts.

I CAN NOT TRY TO MUSCLE UP AND THROW HARD. I THROW HARD ENOUGH WITHOUT TRYING TO THROW HARD.


#9

The more I think about that last start … there was plenty of jams where I could have completely melted down and got knocked outta the game, but I didn’t. It was true battling. IT was ugly, but that happens. I should feel good about that, but I also know why it got so ugly too and I have to learn from that.

I’ve got to come out next time with something to prove.


#10

For the second game in a row, I felt very uncomfortable on the mound. But I’m pretty certain I know what the problem was. The timing of my arm was too much ahead of my body. After I break my hands, I wasn’t squaring off my shoulder, and my upper body was drifting forward, accompanying my lower half, moving right along with it…

I know that the phrase “staying back” is dismissed a lot on this board … but I think it is an accurate description of what I wasn’t doing with my top half. I wasn’t staying back… put it however you want. It’s all semantics, but what makes sense to me is that I wasn’t staying back… my front side was flying ahead, taking me out of a blanced atheletic position, and I was wild low and way to righties.

All that said, I only gave up 2 earned runs in 6 innings, struck out six, walked three.

This was a day where I battled, and I really coulda used some D to back me up, and I got none. My team played like a bunch of scared little kids. They were pathetic. Errors galore. Pathetic.

…Really pissed me off. It’s one thing for guys to make errors, but it’s another thing to mess up b/c you’re afraid and you’re baseball IQ is low…


#11

HAd a game this past weekend against a very powerful hitting team, not a cheap out in the lineup. So it was a challenge, and I was pretty geared up for it.

I did very well through five innings, giving up one earned run, three overall. I was using my change nicely again, the best it’s been in quite some time. I threw it a lot on 0-1, 1-1 counts. I even started a guy off with a change and had him lunging.

My curve has become this big rainbow thing, zito-esque, if I may. I start it at the shoulder of righties and drop to the bottom of zone. The first time I threw it in the game was on a 3-2 count with runners on base. It was a monster. Really froze the hitter nicely for a K.

IT was going well, and then I got to the 6th inning. I had the first guy 0-2, and then I started to nibble on the corners, trying to get too cute. Well, I end up walking the guy. horrible. After that, it sortta fell apart. I walked another guy, got to 3-2 on another guy and grooveda fat pitch that he smacked for a double. I didn’t last much longer than that…

I suppose I got tired, yes… but I also kinda lost my focus, which is inexcusable.

Strategically, I never really established the inside fastball like I should have. Come to think of it, who has ever really hit me well on an inside fastball this season? Maybe 2 batters, tops. I’ve got to work that corner. Guys can’t do anything with it. Even those good hitters I faced the other night, they were only popping it up or ripping it foul.

Next time out I’m pounding that inside corner…

One other mechanical thing I gotta watch is I think I’ve statrted to counter rotate a little and it hurts my control. I’ve gotta maintain my shoulders on a straight line from home to second, ah la Pedro Martinez. That should be a good mechanical checkpoint for me - right up there with brnging my leg down and then out after my leg lift.


#12

Dudes on the board: I been away for some time, I’m sure you all were upset without these updates and contributions from me… well, I got a new job that is pretty intense, so I’ve just been too occcupied to post …

So, here’s my updates … after the last game I posted on, above, I came out and pitched a pretty decent game against a pretty bad team.

We had a really shaky first inning, and it was errors galore. I gave up 3 un-earned. But then the team settled in and I pitched shut out ball the rest of the way … that is, until the last inning, the sixth (the game was gonna be cut short b/c of field permits).

So I got two outs in the sixth, and I just could not get that last out. First I was giving up a bloop hit, and then a soft liner, and then a walk, and then a hard hit, and then another walk, and then a hit batsmen, and by that time our once-comfortable lead was in jeoprdy, and I was tired and could no longer throw strike. So I had to get yanked. I couldn’t finish the deal.

I felt pretty bummed about ruining an otherwise strong outing with fatigue. It was strange because I’d been working out a lot. I’d been doing a lot of strenght work on my legs, and yet I still got tired…

so I decided that I needed to cool it with the strength work on my legs, at least in season. Last year my stamina was great, and all I would do (don’t laught) is take my dog on very long walks before I went to bed.

So, I’m back to dog-walking, sit-ups, and shoulder excersizes as my workout…


#13

Now to the next game. My stamina was very much improved. I had another bad first inning, giving up two runs, all earned. But after that, all zeros.

But the coach yanked me after the sixth, and brought in someone else to close it out in the seventh. Coach I guess didn’t want to see me come close to blowing another game.

In any case, although I was getting into jams in my last two innings, I still was throwing strikes, and that was pretty much what I had to prove to myself, coming off my last outing … I wanted to show that I could continue to hit the zone late in the game, and I did that…

However, the problem with this game was that I had no curve and no changeup. All I had was the fastball. I got by on pretty much all fastballs, just keeping it low low low in the zone. It was good enough.


#14

In my most recent game last weekend, I came out and I felt I had my good stuff, finally. I gave up one run in the first inning b/c of errors, but I was throwing well. My first six outs of the game were Ks. Very good.

But again, I didn’t have a curve and I didn’t have a change. All I had was the fastball.

I carried a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the last inning, the seventh, and whaddaya know, all of a sudden they get single after single after singel. Decent hits, but nothing hit really exceptionally hard. It was obvious I needed my secondary pitches at that point, but I just didn’t have them, again.

It was frustrating. and for the second time in three games I gave up the lead int he last inning. What the hell? Is it mental? Probobly.

But I don’t care who you are or how bad your opponent is, you can’t just throw straight pitches at one speed.

So this week I’ve worked on the side on my change and my breaker. I’m expecting to be VERY good this coming weekend.

I’ve tweaked my change grip to the way I used to throw it. And then with my curve, I just have to have confidence in throwing it. stay tuned…


#15

TipS:

lead with hips… gotta be done for accuracy

keep glove set to the right half of my chest, delay break

point toe

grip circle change w/ the seams


#16

dude, my team is falling apart. we lost a double header to the last place team… pretty freaking bad, yo…

we were missing out starting outfield, and also missing out top 3 back up outfielders. We were also missing our second and third basemen. Pretty sad…

Anyway, in my game, I feel like I threw the ball well. I didn’t walk anyone, and I finally was using my curve to my advantage.

I got hit pretty hard in the third or fourth inning, but other than that I was sharp.

My changeup got some guys swinging out in front, but not enough that it was producing swing and misses. This tells me that my fastball must’ve been suffering from a lower velocity… my catcher confirmed this,t hat I wasn’t throwing as hard as normal … I’m not sure why that would be. My arm felt good. I don’t think it was tired. But maybe it was just my body was not full strenght since in the first game of the double header I had to play third base and do a lot of baserunning. I think I’ll chalk it up to that.

This game was really misleading if you look at my stat line. I gave up like 6 earned runs in six innings, but they got four in one inning, and there were three hits that really should not have been hits, but our fielders were so inept that they were not able to make a play that was not right at them.

I mean, look at it, I didn’t walk anyone and I gave up about 4 hard hit balls in 6 innings, and this comes after having to play the field in a previous game.

So… you gotta be honest with yourself about your performance. I beat myself up when I do well but I feel like I didn’t really throw it well… in this case, I threw well but the results came out against me, so it was what it was


#17

THIS IS WHAT I POSTED ON THE GENERAL FORUM LAST WEEK:

Guys, I’m suffering from a dead arm, I think.

I’m 29 and I play once a weekend, and I do a bullpen every wednesday.

Last Saturday I was pitching against a bad hitting team, and I couldn’t get any Ks. I was still pretty effective, but I noticed my change-up was not getting them off balance because it was not slow enough compared to where my fastball was clocking in. I asked my catcher and he said my velocity was down.

Fast forward to this saturday, and I had nothing. They just teed off on my fastball, even though the location was fairly good. I just had no zip at all. MY catcher asked me if I was hurt because I was throwing so slow.

I’m not hurt. I feel no pain in my arm at all. But I do feel like there’s no zip. The ball isn’t jumping like it should.

My arm feels 100 percent healthy, but it also feels weak. IT doesn’t feel strong.

What should I do? Should I rest for a couple weeks. We don’t have a game next weekend so that woudl be good.

Or should I throw threw it. Should I keep throwing and throwing on the side and fight through this deadness?


THANKS TO PEOPLE’s FEEDBACK - I TOOK TWO WEEKS REST, AND THREW A LIGHT 40 PITCH BULLPEN THREE DAYS BEFORE MY NEXT START …


#18

I came out and didn’t know what to expect. I suspected I had some zip back, but only live batters would be able to tell me that with their reactions… as far as confidence goes, I was very un-sure…

First batter of the game I got on a K, swinging over a sharp breaking ball, and I was back in business. Put up a zero in the first inning, and felt pretty good about it.

It was really hot and humid, and I was concerned about keeping my legs with me. I’ve made the concious decison to put on a little weight over the past couple weeks. Earlier this year I was in really lean shape, and I was getting worn out later in the games. You need some fat to burn in your fuel tank, I guess.

…anyway, back to the game, I end up going five innings, 4ks, 3 earned runs, 4 runs overall … not bad… not great… but I/we got the win, and the best thing to come out of it is I got my confidence back.

I threw only two changeups. One was taken for a strike, the other was popped up to center for an easy out. I didn’t throw and two-seamers either, just alll four seamers … the key to my success was moving the ball inside and outside, inside and outside… inside inside, outside… it’s crucial … on the mechanics side, I was able to better control my fastball with what I did with my lead leg. It’s hard to describe, but if you look at Verlander, he takes his leg down and in and then he strides out. Check it out. Doing it like that allows me to stride more directly at the plate, rather than landing on the third base side where I end up dropping my arm angle and throwing across my body.

Also, for whatever reason, I lost my control for a couple batters and I realized I wasn’t keeping my toe pointed down. Once I started keeping my toe pointed again, my control was back.