TRACKING BARD'S CHANGEUP, ROUND 4
While the night ended sourly for Bard, his use, location, and command of the change in KC were pretty sweet. Overall, he threw 15--way up from previous starts--and most were located well and had Bard's signature sink. Like always, he tended to throw them early in the count and to lefties (although Francour got one this time), but for the most part this time he kept them down-and-away, an improvement on command that I hope will continue. It's funny: as he throws his change from 86 to 90mph, a couple of his faster changes tonight actually looked like sinkers.Overall results
6 called strikes
1 swinging strike
1 GB out
1 GB singleLocation
A mixed bag, but I see improvement for a pitch that should be, well, improving. Some floated on him, but more than half are low in the zone, and several are down-and-away. The ones in the middle tended to have good tailing movement and were mixed in well with his FF (or thrown as a 1st pitch), which resulted in them being taken for called stikes or being hit weakly. With Bard's dominant FF and SL, I don't think batters can ever sit change, so he can get away with some that catch a lot of the plate. Movement
For the most part, Bard had lots of movement on the change, which, coupled with good command, made it very successful tonight. Looking at the yellow cluster above, it seems much more defined than in previous starts, indicating that (a) he's able to command it with more reliability and (b) perhaps throwing it more is promoting this consistency.
(if you have an MLB.tv account, I encourage you to use the "clickable linescore" feature, which allows you to jump to each plate appearance, making it easy to see these in action.) 1st inningGordon
1-1: 90mph CH, called strike on the inside corner. Good tailing movement to come back over the plate; looked a sinker, but just a few ticks slower. Good pitch to freeze Gordon.
2-2: 90mph CH down in the zone that Gordon flails at, just getting a piece. Just as good movement as the previous. Great pitch. He really commanded these two well.2nd inningFrancour
1-0: 88mph CH middle-outside for a called strike. Good tailing movement again, but this one was a little up in the zone and probably caught a little too much of the plate. Likely caught Francour by surprise, as it's the kind of pitch he might go the other way with. First and only CH thrown to a righty this season.Moustakas
1-1: 89mph CH, high and outside for a ball. Not commanded well. OK movement, but not as good as previous three; A floater.
2-1: 89mph CH, high and inside for a ball. Not commanded well, either. From where Shoppach was set up, seemed like it was supposed to be outside. Seemed to get away from him. Moustakas eventually grounded out.3rd inningGordon
0-1: 88mph CH down-and-away that Gordon pulled for a lazy groundout to 2nd. Great location and tailing movement. Good pitch, even if Gordon would've laid off.4th inningHosmer
1-0: 87mph CH on the outside corner for a called strike. Good pitch, but a little too high. Great tailing movement, but not much "sink." Hosmer grounded out to SS on the next pitch. Moustakas
1-0: 88mph CH, down-and-away that Moustakas whiffed on. Wow. Probably his best of the night. With that location and movement, not much Moustakas could do with it. Didn't drop out of the zone, so it would've been a called strike it he didn't swing. 5th inningDyson
0-0: 87mph CH, down-and-away for a called strike. Another really good one. Location was great, movement away from Dyson. If he swings, he either whiffs, tops it to 2nd, or slaps it to the left. Great pitch. 6th inningGordon
0-0: 87mph down-and-away for another called strike. Man, so far he's really commanded this pitch well. Perfect placement and good tailing movement.
1-1: Comas back with an 88mph change, this time it stays up in the zone, but Gordon is way ahead of it and grounds it foul to the right. Movement's good, location isn't AS good. But Gordon was fooled. Grounds out on the next pitch.7th inningMoustakas
0-0: 88mph, high-and-inside for a called strike. Movement was good, tailed but I doubt Bard wanted it that high. Still, a called strike.
0-1: 87mph, almost the same pitch, but this time Moustakas chops it between SS and 3rd for a GB single. Eck noted the poor location of both. Too high. Pena
0-1: 88mph on the outside corner that Pena is way ahead of; chops a foul to the right. Good tail, location was decent (could've been a little lower), but Pena was fooled. Blew a the next pitch by him for the SO. Set him up nicely with the FF-CH-FF.8th inningGordon
1-0: 87mph way high-and-outside for a ball. This one got away from him, as did every other pitch in the inning. Clearly he'd lost command of everything--fastball, slider, and change--at this point. He also threw over to 1st three times before the pitch.
Over the first six innings, outside of the 2nd inning PA to Moustakas, he commanded the change very well and got several called strikes, some weak contact, and a whiff. In the 7th and 8th, he struggled with command, and in the 8th he completely lost it. But I'm encouraged by both the number he threw (at the expense of the slider) and the consistency commanding them. Let's hope his CH percentage remains at 15% or greater.
Check back here after Bard's next start for another update!