Thursday, September 10, 2009

Justice can fix Paulino

As if lately he needed to be fixed. Nevertheless, Justice has some ideas...

Felipe Paulino needs to establish his fastball instead of throwing so much breaking stuff early in games. He threw just 30 fastballs and 22 breaking pitches in the first two innings Tuesday night.

First, this is too many pitches, but it's far too few fastballs. If he's going to make it, it's going to be because he was able to locate an above-average major league fastball.

If he can't do that, he has no chance. See Brad Lidge for helpful instruction about what happens to a guy with a great arm but no command of his fastball.

He made it look easy in the third and fourth innings when 13 of his 15 pitches were fastballs, including 11 in a row. He threw some breaking pitches to open the fifth, but then finished the final two hitters off on a diet of 96-mph fastballs.

Pitchers must throw an occasional off-speed pitch to keep hitters honest. In the end, though, it's the fastball that'll determine whether they succeed or not unless they have an extraordinary breaking pitch. Paulino's best pitch is his fastball, and he needs to command it better. If he does, he'll make a whole lot of money.

It's true. But it's also a little obvious. I can understand pitching backwards, but the Key to the Game of "locating your fastball" is right out of the Fox Saturday Game of the Week in which somebody - generally McCarver - says that Team X needs to shut Team Y's offense down, while scoring more runs."