Over the course of a career, every starting pitcher has to deal with change. As the velocity on their pitches wanes or the league figures out what they throw, they have to continually adapt; feature secondary pitches more often, develop new pitches, add wrinkles to old pitches, or mix up their pitch selections to keep hitters off balance. If you want to get 600 outs per year, every year, you can’t do the same thing every time out.
For Zack Greinke, much of that story of adaptation revolves around his slider.
There were the heady times, of course. The 2009 season with Kansas City brought a Cy Young Award. His slider? “It was amazing, the best pitch I ever had,” Greinke said before a game with the Giants last week. That pitch was a big part of how he posted a 2.16 ERA and struck out 242 batters.
Unfortunately, time comes for all pitchers. For Greinke, he saw it in the slider. The pitch “slowly got a little worse,” Greinke said — it was “coming out real good, but the hitters weren’t really reacting to it.” Why? Greinke shrugged. That 2009 slider “was just better, it just happens.” Watch the rates on the pitch drop.
Print This Post