August 11, 2009

Papelbon Regaining Fastball Command

In his last five appearances -- since his disastrous blown save against Oakland on July 28 -- Jonathan Papelbon has a superb 5.2-1-0-0-6 line while throwing more efficiently: 17, 18, 15, 16 and 11 pitches.

Check out the discussion at SoSH (it's a long thread, but the stuff re his recent return to form starts here). It's amazing that we have such easy access to this technology and wealth of information about a pitcher's performance.

Some snips:
Sprowl: "His set position is now consistently at the belt, not the letters. Release point data and observation confirm a more compact motion and higher arm slot with delivery closer to the body. Papelbon's command on the fastball seems to be back, and his fastball shows more vertical than horizontal movement -- not a lot more, but enough to show that he has his old 3/4 delivery back."

Shoeless Joe Wood: "He definitely did change back, Here's a clip from 7-24 against the Orioles, where his hands start around his chest, and has somewhat of a sidearm delivery. And Here's a clip from tonight [Monday] where he starts his hands out a little below his waist and as more of a 3/4 delivery."

Smiling Joe Hesketh: "I do remember him placing his hands at his waist in the set position throughout the '07 and '08 seasons when he was so unhittable. When he switched to the hands up near his chest at the beginning of this season the change was immediately noticeable. I'm guessing he switched back because the benefit of less shoulder strain with the new mechanics was being offset by the decreased command and effectiveness it entailed, which made him throw more pitches and probably put at least as much strain on the arm cumulatively, which rendered the whole point of changing mechanics moot."
Former BALCO chemist Patrick Arnold, who created the steroid THG ("the clear") says it's possible David Ortiz took 19-norandrostenedione, a supplement that contained the steroid nandrolone and was available for legal purchase in 2003.
Yes, people back then did test positive because of supplements, and occasionally it was for nandrolone, which I think (Ortiz) is alluding to, but not verbatim. ... We'll never learn if this is an excuse (for players) or a legitimate defense until we know more details about the substances in question.
Dr. Gary Wadler, the head of the committee that determines the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned-substances list, also says Ortiz's explanation was believable, noting that prior to January 2005, many over-the-counter supplements could cause positive tests.
Tim Wakefield threw 51 pitches over three simulated innings (after a 40-pitch bullpen session) at Fenway Park yesterday afternoon, fielding bunts and covering first base under the watchful eyes of Terry Francona and Theo Epstein.
I feel like if I had to pitch today, I could pitch. It's just the motor weakness in my leg [left calf]. That's the only thing holding me back right now. ... No tingling, no numbness, no nothing. It's just motor weakness.
Brad Penny seems to vomit a lot during his starts. (ignoring obvious follow-up sentence) Against the Twins on May 22, he was vomiting between every inning because of a sinus infection. Last night, he barfed in the middle of the fifth. "Just a little acid reflux. I get that sometimes. I just threw up a little water. It was nothing big."

Francona, on coming back to Boston: "I felt good about coming home until I got to the red light today with my window down." ... David Ortiz's second-inning RBI single last night snapped a career-worst 0-for-23 streak with runners on base. ... Jed Lowrie visited the Phoenix specialist who performed his spring wrist surgery and underwent an electromyography (EMG) examination.

Jacoby Ellsbury stole his 51st base last night. Only Tommy Harper (54 in 1973) and Tris Speaker (52 in 1912) have stolen more bases in a single season for Boston. ... Ramon Ramirez will not be fined or suspended for hitting Alex Rodriguez on Saturday. ... Gil Velazquez, designated for assignment last week, was outrighted to Pawtucket.
Kelly Blair, the former owner of 1-on-1 Elite Personal Fitness, has sued the authors of American Icon: The Fall of Roger Clemens and the Rise of Steroids in America's Pastime, claiming that he has been falsely accused him of being a steroids dealer.


L-girl said...

his disastrous blown save against Oakland on July 28


Amy said...

Although I had not observed the difference in where he sets up, I did notice how differently he was pitching overall. Let's hope he stays with what works.

9casey said...

I was watching the '04 alcs the other night and Wake was warming in the pen....he must have put on 25 lbs , all in his belly, since then...

tim said...


done undergrad!

Patrick said...

It sounds like Penny needs to hit the track. I'm no expert, but I'd say he's a touch out of shape.