Alvarez Finds His Arm Slot
As part of this Blog’s charter, I have to keep up a 1:1 ratio of nerd tables to rants cussing out the Sun/Richard Griffin/Rogers, so…just in case you missed Henderson Alvarez recovering from what looked like a early trip to the showers after three runs in the first to absolutely mow down the Yankees the rest of the way (which you almost certainly did since Rogers sucks and only ever shows afternoon games on SN-1), the difference between him throwing batting practice and dominating the Yankees like he has never dominated a team before is apparently about a two-inch change in his release point. Here’s how it changed during his Jekkyl-and-Hyde start:
|When||Four-Seamer X (inches)||Four-Seamer Y||Two-Seamer X||Two-Seamer Y|
|Rest Of Game||-23.9||73.1||-22.5||73.0|
That may not seem like a lot, but releasing the ball two inches closer to the body and three inches lower is a pretty serious change at this level. Good on whoever spotted the problem and him for making the mid-game adjustment to his mechanics. It looks like that made his 4-seamer accurate and his 2-seamer dart out of the zone for a swing-and-miss pitch (as he has essentially abandoned his slider again and only threw 8 all game).
Hmmm…actually, his arm slot adjustment may have been a more gradual thing than all that. Here is what happened to Alvarez’s horizontal release point on his four-seamer through the game. Essentially, this is how far away his body he is releasing his heater (with lower being further away…ugly, I know). See it start to slip again towards the end of the game as he tires? Someday there will be a pitch f/x nerd in every dugout so managers don’t have to rely on their bleary eyes or the word of their starter to tell if a guy is out of gas and starting to unravel…
Now the same thing done for his 2-seamer. That one crazy spike was, as you might expect, a total slip that ended up floating in at 90 mph a foot off the plate. Might have been an attempt at a change, even. Anyway, it looks like a key for Alvarez is to stop himself from ‘flying open’, stay ‘compact through his delivery’, ‘on top of the ball’, and all that Jazz…