Johan No Longer Tipping Pitches
It was believed for a while that Johan Santana was tipping his pitches. On his change-up he would wiggle his glove before he threw the pitch, letting the batters know what pitch was coming. This in combination with his decreased velocity, made him much easier to hit.
“That start against the Twins, it seemed like early on every changeup he threw, those guys weren’t even budging,” his catcher Rod Barajas said. “They weren’t even checking their swings they were either taking (pitches) or taking good hacks at it."
Last night Santana threw a complete game, three hit shutout, and Mike Mazzeo believe that Santana has fixed this problem. He says that Santana has done this by, "lowering his glove position in the windup so as to avoid tipping his pitches when changing grips, especially his changeup, to opposing hitters."
Santana had a rough June, going 1-3 with a 4.68 ERA, allowing 17 runs on 36 hits, 14 walks, and only 12 strike outs in five starts. Things have turned around for him in July. In two starts he is 1-0 with a 0.56 ERA, allowing one run on 9 hits, 5 walks, and 12 strike outs. He's already matched the amount of strike outs he's had in June with his first two starts in July.
Santana is notoriously a good second half pitcher, and it might be becuase he gets stronger as the year goes on. “When you’re able to locate your fastball and move it around, it makes your other pitches better,” Santana said. “My changeup had good action, but again the key is the fastball.”
With his fastball having more life on it, it makes all of his other pitches better. Santana was consistently around 91 MPH with his fastball last night, and I even saw him get it up to 92 MPH.
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