Thursday, June 5, 2008

Who Is This Man?

Warning! An impostor has invaded Yankees uniform number 35 and is winning with a high degree of regularity!

A league leading 9 wins and a 4 era...whooda thunk it?

After a spring where Moose losing his rotation spot was an eventual certainty, and after an April BP session with Manny Ramirez that caused NASA some concern for the Hubble Space Telescope, Moose has reinvented himself and is again enjoying success.
Much like the youngsters need time to figure out how to win in the bigs, Moose apparently needed a little time to figure out how to win with very different stuff than he enjoyed as a younger man.
A fastball that sits 85-89 is no longer the strikeout pitch it was 5-7 years ago when he would easily hit 93. Instead, Moose has come up with a Maddux-like 2-seamer and relies on a slow curveball and a slower than slow changeup to keep hitters off balance.
To lefties, Moose is using a 2 seam fastball that he throws at the front knee of the hitter and has it break over the inside corner for a strike. Once the lefties are inside conscious, he floats the changeup away. He is now smartly staying away from the curve to lefty hitters.
To righties (much like Mo), he is cutting the fastball on the outside corner and sinking the 2 seamer in. Once he has established the heater to both sides of the plate, he drops that great knuckle curve as a knee-buckling out pitch. He has also added an element to the curve in that he now also throws one with more 2-8 break from a lower arm angle in addition to the 12-8, straight over the top curve.
Having to rely as much as he does on his off-speed pitches, there will undoubtedly still be nights where the secondary pitches are not working for him and he gets hit hard. These nights, however, are becoming fewer and further between.
I'm really happy for Moose; he was one of the best starters in baseball for 10 years and deserves to have some success now. As far as the Yanks are concerned, enjoy the success for the rest of the year and wish him luck pitching for the Phills in '09.

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