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Eric Cioe

Verlander has a new pitch

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Verlander threw 7 pitches tonight, at 87-91 mph, that instead of having 12-15 inches into a righty, went only 4-8 into a righty. That's a cutter, or a very, very hard slider. Where did that come from? Has anyone read about that at all?

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Jim Price said that he was throwing a hard curveball. Not that that really means anything.

This isn't that. He had two different curveballs tonight: one from 75-79, and another, harder, slurvier pitch from 81-84. Sometimes gameday labels those harder curves as a slider.

The pitch I'm talking about looked like a fastball from the CF camera. It'd be really nice to see it from right behind the pitcher so you could see the side to side movement of it, but gameday tracked it just fine.

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Verlander threw 7 pitches tonight, at 87-91 mph, that instead of having 12-15 inches into a righty, went only 4-8 into a righty. That's a cutter, or a very, very hard slider. Where did that come from? Has anyone read about that at all?

Doesn't a cutter move away from a right handed hitter?

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Doesn't a cutter move away from a right handed hitter?

Relative to the fastball, yeah. The league average slider has basically 0 horizontal movement compared to a pitch with no spin. Every pitch in baseball except for wide sliders and the curveball move to a pitcher's pitching arm side when compared to a pitch with no spin. It's a function of arm slot: think about releasing a fastball, and how much topspin it's going to have going basically right at a hitter's head, like 1 or 2 o'clock on a clockface from behind the pitcher.

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Verlander threw 7 pitches tonight, at 87-91 mph, that instead of having 12-15 inches into a righty, went only 4-8 into a righty. That's a cutter, or a very, very hard slider. Where did that come from? Has anyone read about that at all?

I wasn't watching, but you mean into a lefty, right? Because he doesn't have a Derek Lowe-type sinker that he can swing back into righties 12-15 inches. 4-8 into a lefty at 87-91 mph indeed sounds like a cutter/hard slider.

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I wasn't watching, but you mean into a lefty, right? Because he doesn't have a Derek Lowe-type sinker that he can swing back into righties 12-15 inches. 4-8 into a lefty at 87-91 mph indeed sounds like a cutter/hard slider.

It's all relative to a pitch with 0 spin. That's how gameday and pitch f/x works.

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I don't see those in the pitch f/x file. I see 2 89ish mph that had some strange action, and both were pitches in the dirt. Were the curves he choked off?

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I don't see those in the pitch f/x file. I see 2 89ish mph that had some strange action, and both were pitches in the dirt. Were the curves he choked off?

I'm not sure you can choke a curveball at that velocity. I was going by gameday data as it came in.

What was the strikeout pitch to Matsui on?

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I didn't really watch the game, but from the velocity maybe it was a 2-seamer?

That's what I thought just looking at the velocity. But the movement wasn't in the same direction. Besides, his 2-seamer tonight was 94-95 all night long.

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I'm not sure you can choke a curveball at that velocity. I was going by gameday data as it came in.

What was the strikeout pitch to Matsui on?

Good catch. It had the spin rate of his curve, but the spin direction was completely different and the vertical movement was similar to his change-up. I have no idea what it is.

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He threw it to Jeter in the 2nd and Cano in the 4th as well. The interesting thing is that all of these pitches were in the dirt (according to gameday)

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It's all relative to a pitch with 0 spin. That's how gameday and pitch f/x works.

OK, but compared to a 0 spin pitch, the side spin on a cutter/hard slider thrown by a righty would cause the pitch to move in on a lefty, not a righty.

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...Stuff like this is why I visit forums.

Thanks for providing new, relevant information, Eric.

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OK, but compared to a 0 spin pitch, the side spin on a cutter/hard slider thrown by a righty would cause the pitch to move in on a lefty, not a righty.

No it wouldn't. At least not always. You'd be right if the pitcher threw from literally directly over the top. But because everyone throws from some variation of a 3/4 angle, the spin isn't exactly side to side.

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Verlander threw 7 pitches tonight, at 87-91 mph, that instead of having 12-15 inches into a righty, went only 4-8 into a righty. That's a cutter, or a very, very hard slider. Where did that come from? Has anyone read about that at all?

91 sounds like a 2 seamer to me, but.......... The radio broadcast said he threw a "power curve" and also a "hard slider" if they have any significance.

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No it wouldn't. At least not always. You'd be right if the pitcher threw from literally directly over the top. But because everyone throws from some variation of a 3/4 angle, the spin isn't exactly side to side.

I'm not sure you're quite understanding this. But the point is, the side-to-side component of the spin on a cutter/slider, like the curve, and unlike the fastball, will most often cause a pitch from a righty to move into a lefty, no matter what the arm angle.

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I'm not sure you're quite understanding this. But the point is, the side-to-side component of the spin on a cutter/slider, like the curve, and unlike the fastball, will most often cause a pitch from a righty to move into a lefty, no matter what the arm angle.

I'm not sure you're understanding this. The pitch f/x stuff takes a while to get used to because they measure it in a funny way. The league average fastball has something like 9 inches of arm side run. Sliders don't go 18 inches the opposite way. They move, say, 9 inches relative to the fastball, which means they're back at neutral, or perhaps just slightly past it.

If you're standing directly on a line with home plate and a given pitcher's release point, you'll see just this. The fastball runs in. The changeup runs in. The slider basically stays straight. It moves away from a like handed hitter compared to the fastball, but viewed on a straight line, it doesn't move much side to side.

Here's a graph of Mariano Rivera's pitches and their movement as measured by pitch f/x:

mo_movement.jpg

Watching on TV, you'd say that the cutter moves away from a righty by about 6 inches. But it doesn't. It just looks that way, because the fastball is moving in.

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I'm not sure you're understanding this. The pitch f/x stuff takes a while to get used to because they measure it in a funny way. The league average fastball has something like 9 inches of arm side run. Sliders don't go 18 inches the opposite way. They move, say, 9 inches relative to the fastball, which means they're back at neutral, or perhaps just slightly past it.

If you're standing directly on a line with home plate and a given pitcher's release point, you'll see just this. The fastball runs in. The changeup runs in. The slider basically stays straight. It moves away from a like handed hitter compared to the fastball, but viewed on a straight line, it doesn't move much side to side.

Here's a graph of Mariano Rivera's pitches and their movement as measured by pitch f/x:

mo_movement.jpg

Watching on TV, you'd say that the cutter moves away from a righty by about 6 inches. But it doesn't. It just looks that way, because the fastball is moving in.

To begin with, let's not deal with Mo Rivera, since his cutter is exceptional not only for its effectiveness, but also because of what that graph points out, which is that he has the unique ability to make it break in either direction.

Moving to Verlander, his slider moves on average 2-3 inches in the same direction as his curveball, which is into lefties and away from righties. (As an aside, the speed on his slider is so similar to his curveball, low-80s, that it's no wonder he doesn't throw the slider very often, since it doesn't break as much, down or away from righties.)

So we can rule out the slider, since it's generally too slow and breaks the wrong way compared to what you were looking at. And since it tops out at 84 or so, I can't imagine him juicing it to 91.

I might be tempted to say it's a hepped-up changeup, which he will occasionally throw in the upper-80s, and since it breaks in the direction of the pitches you were looking at (fastball-based direction, into righties), but Justin's changeup breaks, horizontally, more on average than his fastball, generally around 10-11 inches. So 4-8 wouldn't be a changeup, either.

*shrugs*

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