April 28, 2009

Papelbon Tinkering With Delivery

Jonathan Papelbon -- whose rate of swings and misses has dropped from 27.6% to 21.2% -- says he has changed his delivery
... kind of added a little bit more power to it. When you make adjustments in this game, you're going to have to take the good with the bad, and maybe right now I'm throwing a little bit more pitches than I have in the past. To me, I'm still not overworking myself because by changing my mechanics, it's able to take some of that pressure off my arm. So throwing 15 pitches the old way is the same as throwing 25 the new way. ...

I'm using my legs more so all that torque and stuff is going to be on my legs and not on my arms. I feel really good with it right now. My outing in Oakland kind of solidified that, like OK, I'm comfortable as I can be with the new mechanics.
and many SoSHers are neither pleased nor hopeful. Amid some video and pics:

I know the Sox are on top of these things on various levels, but that sentence ["take some pressure off my arm"] seems revealing to me. His velocity still seems OK but it's strange because those extra feet on his fastball don't seem to be there.
... I'm wondering if Papelbon is trying to increase his stride length ... Note Papelbon's low arm slot, and how unbalanced he is at the end of his follow-through, falling over to his left with his right leg kicked out in an attempt to stay balanced. ... It looks like he's opening up and working east/west, whipping the ball, which is a habit he's gotten into in the past.
He is constantly missing his spots this year, and his follow-through seems to have more of a pronounced fall off to the side of the mound than it has in the past. His fastball doesn't have that extra zip and everyone knows it is coming. I am in the concerned category.
Small sample so far this year, but his strikeout rate has been dropping since 2007: 13.0, 10.0, 7.7. His fly ball rate has jumped from last year (31.1% to 59.3%), his groundball rate has dropped (49.2% to 25.9%) and line drives are slight less frequent (19.7% to 14.8%).

This year: 9 games, 9.1 innings, 8 hits, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts, 2 runs. Thirteen baserunners in 9.1 innings is far too many, but more than half of them (7 of the 13) have come in two outings (April 11 and last night). Other seven appearances: 7 innings, 3 hits, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts, 0 runs.


Tim Wakefield: "I feel phenomenal. I'm throwing a lot of strikes." In his four starts, here's Wakefield's runs allowed totals: 3, 2, 1, 0! He's allowing only five hits per nine innings. After a good first start, his last three: 23 innings, 10 hits, 7 walks, 1.17 ERA, .123/.220/.173, throwing 62% strikes.

George Kottaras had two passed balls:
It was breaking at the last second. I was focusing on it and all of a sudden it would take a left turn or right turn. It even got me on the hip, made me miss one really bad. I was just trying to stay with him and it was good. He was on tonight.
Wakefield needs 27 more victories to becoming the winningest pitcher in Red Sox history; he has 166 and Cy Young and Roger Clemens are tied with 192.

Mike Lowell was named AL Player of the Week (10-for-23, .435, 11 RBI). ... Daisuke Matsuzaka is expected to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday.

David Ortiz has a seven-game hitting streak (.345). ... Manny Delcarmen has not allowed a run in his last 22.2 innings, dating to September 9, 2008. ... Clay Buchholz pitched against Lehigh Valley last night: 6-3-1-1-7 (game log). ... The Portland Sea Dogs lost 20-15 on Sunday.

J.D. Drew says he feels "considerably looser than [Sunday] when I left. I don't know if it's more dehydration, cramping kind of issue ..." Drew, on Sunday's excitement:
I'm not the guy who steals home. I'm the guy who tries not to kill the guy who steals home. I saw him coming the whole way. In that situation I didn't want to give it away by backing out of the box or anything to speed Andy up. I could see his complete focus was on me. I could feel Ellsy coming. I almost squared around to bunt to keep Posada back but then Andy sped up and flipped the ball in there. ... It worked out good all the way around other than Ellsy tripping and falling over home plate.
Josh Beckett is calling Jacoby Ellsbury "The Jet", from a character in "The Sandlot" movie. "The Jet" was the nameplate above Lyndon's locker in Cleveland.


Amy said...

So perhaps Jim Rice was wrong about not having to worry about Papelbon. I just don't see him dominating like he did last year or especially in 07. Not overly concerned, but I no longer feel like we are automatically safe when he takes the mound in the ninth.

9casey said...

What, are we creating problems now......

I'm not at all concerned with Pap as much as I am with Beckett...

Mike said...

Tek story from the Onion...

Jere said...

It was cloudy when I got up today, so I feel like the sun might not rise at all tomorrow, or, at latest, by the end of the week:)

Check out this pic I posted of Pap's follow through. I actually thought it was kinda cool and Pedro-like.

L-girl said...


It is too early to worry about anybody.

Also, if I recall correctly, we didn't feel automatically safe with Papelbon through much of last year either. There are very few "automatic" closers. Papelbon may become one, he has flashes of it, but we really don't know.

Amy said...

Like I said, I am not really concerned. I just miss the Bot who overpowered everyone (almost) every time.

And concern is not the same as thinking the sun won't be coming out. FY.

L-girl said...

There are all degrees of concern. Good point.

I guess I'm so happy about how the team is doing, and I expect there will always be some holes and some issues, that I can't even appreciate the concern right now. But I hear ya.

nixon33 said...

I hope him using more of his legs isn't a signal that they are concerned with his arm. but thats just slow news day speculation. I hope he can work the mechanics out soon that he is around the strike zone more. Sorry, i mean the "AMEEKER strike zone".

Ish said...

I'm not worried. It'd be great if they could get the same velocity and movement from him while easing up on his arm. Less is more.