The Pitch, It Is a-Changin’

From Rob Bradford’s blog (which you need to be reading every day):

But the final line was inconsequential compared to the nine change-ups which made an appearance in the outing. For Schilling, spring training [last year] was all about pitching inside, this year the priority has become developing his change. …

"I’m forcing myself to throw it in counts where I would during the season if it was good," Schilling said. "The first couple I threw today, it felt like I was throwing left-handed, because I have a mental checklist that I rapid-fire to throw each pitch, and I’ve never thrown this — or really felt this confident or comfortable to this point to use it — so it’s different. The last couple I threw, I thought I threw really, really well. It’s going to be a huge weapon for me."

Last year, Schilling talked a lot about pitching inside and hitting batters if necessary to reclaim the strike zone. Yet he hit just as many batters as he did in 2005 (three), and the same as his 162-game career average. Does the Sox ace plan on unveiling a new pitch at age 40 and using it effectively to become the 22-game winner he believes he still can be? I’m skeptical, but in the end, it doesn’t really matter. Schilling is a master at self-publicity and the media — witness his handing out Japanese-language T-shirts for his video game company to the Japanese media in Fort Myers. If he gets hitters thinking he has another dominating pitch — even if he rarely uses it — it’s still an advantage.

6 comments… add one
  • I’d be more excited about him adding another pitch to his repertoire if his current offspeed stuff weren’t so…unspectacular. His curveball is ugly; I cringe whenever I see it, as it always looks like it’s just asking to get whacked 500 feet.
    Something tells me this “project” will mysteriously disappear once the season starts, and we’ll see that same old fastball/splitter combo every fifth day. Old habits die hard, as they say.

    mouse - SF March 5, 2007, 12:46 am
  • Bradford has quickly set himself among my favorite writers. It’s a breath of fresh air amongst the negativity we get spoonfed from CHB and the rest of the jackasses in the big papers.
    Schilling’s changeup isn’t a new thing, he’s been talking about it for what, three spring trainings now? I’m all for him using it, because it’ll help set up his fastball, but either way, I’m skeptical of him returning to a 20+ win Cy Young form. There’s not many guys in the AL that strike me as clearly capable of that right now outside of Santana & Halladay.
    Color me happy if Schill wins 15, has an ERA below 4, lowers the HR total from last year, and strikes out 165.

    Steve March 5, 2007, 12:47 am
  • “…If he gets hitters thinking he has another dominating pitch — even if he rarely uses it — it’s still an advantage….”
    …this is like if coco said he was going to start swinging for the fences and go head to head with ortiz on homeruns that pitchers would start pitching more carefully to him…not likely…
    …to quote mouse out of context: “…this “project” will mysteriously disappear once…” one of them gets “…whacked 500 feet…”

    dc March 5, 2007, 8:34 am
  • The difference, dc, is that Schilling is a likely Hall of Famer who is capable of adding a pitch that he could throw for strikes. Coco is pretty well established as a mid-power, good-speed guy — certainly not bad, but no Big Papi, and certainly not capable of doing that.

    Paul SF March 5, 2007, 9:46 am
  • I’m with you on Bradford, he really is a breath of fresh air.

    LocklandSF March 5, 2007, 10:23 am
  • I’m with DC. If he can’t throw it effectively, then the pitch won’t be respected by hitters so it won’t be an advantage.
    Mariano Rivera has been working on and throwing a change up every spring for the past few years. But, no one has stepped into the box looking for a change against him and he’s also a likely HOFer.
    Talking about it isn’t the same as actually getting people out with it – which is why Rivera hasn’t used his in the regular season yet.

    lp March 5, 2007, 1:03 pm

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