This from Newsday:
Leiter stressed that although he does not see Wang daily, as pitching coach Dave Eiland does, Wang must develop backup plans when his sinker isn’t working.
Dolan’s Cadillac film “You have to have a plan B, even a C. I can tell you in my career, I pitched plenty of games where I had plan C working, maybe even D,” Leiter said. “He’s got to be able to throw his slider or some other second pitch for called strikes in fastball counts, behind in the count, in hitter’s counts.”
Quite frankly, I find the idea that he is struggling because he is dependent on one pitch ridiculous. (Although Leiter is not explicitly stating that point here, he is referencing a point that he has made repeatedly on YES). It does not take years for a league to catch up to a player. If a player is getting by on gimmicks or subpar stuff, scouting is advanced enough in this day that he normally fails to get through one season without getting exposed, let along four. Wang pitched to a 3.79 ERA up to this point with the stuff that he has, although he has implemented a slider that has decreased his groundball rate but increased his K-rate. Outside of that pitch, which he possesses at this point, I see no reason to further mess with a previously successful pitcher by tinkering with new pitches. As Joel Sherman states, sometimes these mechanical issues just happen, and some hard work can snap you out of your funk:
Olney focused heavily on Aaron Cook and how the righty went from having lost his signature sinker to doing video work that enabled Cook to rediscover the pitch. I point this out because Chien-Ming Wang, like Cook, depends so thoroughly on a sinker to get groundballs. You could argue that no two starters in the majors so thoroughly rely on sinkers and grounders more than Cook and Wang.
I went and looked it up: Through three starts (April 18), Cook had a 10.22 ERA. The only pitcher in the majors with three starts who had a worse ERA at that moment was Wang (34.50). Since then — his sinker rediscovered — Cook has gone 5-2 with a 3.11 ERA in 10 starts.
In his last start, CMW had his velocity and movement back, but his location remained lacking. Hopefully he can recapture his old form starting Wednesday night.
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