Thursday, March 08, 2007

Mariano's Usual Spring Routine

Every spring training Mariano Rivera breaks out the changeup. He did so yesterday in his 1-2-3 4th inning appearance vs. the Reds (in Spring Training Rivera always throws earlier in the game, usually just after the starter, so he can face big-league hitters and not the minor leaguers at the end of the game).

One of his changeups was a called strike three to Josh Hamilton. The changeup was one of his bread-and-butter pitches in the minor leagues, but since becoming a relief pitcher in 1995, he's uses it and tinkers with it only in Spring Training.

I've always wondered if he's planning on using the pitch only when his skills being to diminish a bit, as a boost to keep him at his current levels, and why bother letting hitters see it now. With 11 consecutive seasons with an ERA under 3, including 7 of them (and four consecutive right now) with an ERA under 2, there's not much reason to add another pitch.

But he works on it every spring.

No comments: