John Wasdin had a no-no through 7 before Jason Motte came in to strike out 5 batters over the 8th and 9th inning. I took a look at the video to see what Motte was up to with his pitches.
- Meyer — 1-FB(CS) 2-FB(B) 3-FB(CS) 4-FB(SS)
- Metcalf — 1-FB(SS) 2-FB(foul out to 1st)
- Gold — 1-SL(CS) 2-SL(SS) 3-SL(B) 4-FB(SS)
- Richardson — 1-FB(CS) 2-FB(B)-96mph 3-FB(SS) 4-FB(B) 5-FB(F) 6-FB(F) 7-FB(SS)-97mph
- Ellison — 1-FB(CS) 2-FB(SS) 3-FB(SS)
- Duran — 1-FB(B) 2-FB(SS) 3-FB(F) 4-SL(B) 5-FB(SS)
By my count Motte threw 4 sliders out of 25 pitches. When I watched Motte in the past, I made the following comment on his slider:
The slider isn’t a myth but it is very much a work in progress. My biggest complaint is that it doesn’t break away from right-handers enough. It’s got some decent vertical movement (which almost made me think it was a curve the first time I saw it) but the lateral break leaves a lot to be desired. I’d almost question if he’s even putting the right/enough torque on the ball when it leaves his hand. The other problem is that it’s pretty easy to recognize when he’s throwing the slider. The arm action slows a little and the arm slot just isn’t quite the same.
Most of that holds true. The pitch still doesn’t break away from right handers. The third slider that he threw to Gold (the ball) was the only one with any serious horizontal break and it was well outside the strike zone. I will say that I wasn’t picking up on the pitch as much before hand, which is an improvement. I’m just not sure it’s really a viable breaking pitch in the majors. It still looks well below average to me.
Sometimes when you watch hitters face a pitcher, you’ll comment on batters not being able to square up on the pitch. That was certainly the case with Motte’s fastball. There were 3 foul tips caught for strikeouts. I’m not sure if Motte should be applauded for this because his fastball is still very, very straight. He’s got wicked velocity but he loves to throw the fastball up in the zone (albeit around the shoulders) and mistakes with a straight fastball, up in the zone in the bigs are going to fly a long way when those hitters connect. His fastball is still a good pitch but he wasn’t even attempting to throw it down in the zone tonight. It’s possible that he can get away with pitching like that (see Zumaya, Farnsworth) but he’s still something of a diamond in the rough. Heavy on velocity & light on pitches that move.