Over the weekend, John Shipley wrote about Nick Blackburn’s arm issues last season. He noted that things fell apart for Backburn in June, and elbow issues may have had something to do with it.
The one glaring difference between his numbers before and after June of last year was his performance against right-handed batters.
|4/1/2009 - 5/31/2010||.286||.317||.419||.326|
|6/1/2010 - 10/3/2010||.323||.354||.497||.371|
I checked his PitchFX data and there was very little difference at all in movement on his off-speed pitches over that time period. However, Shipley does note that Blackburn’s elbow became more of a problem as the 2010 season progressed, and as a result he had to abandon his secondary pitches. While the numbers on his fastball weren’t much different from June on (his wOBA increased only 18 points), Blackburn’s increased reliance on the pitch hurt him the most against RHB, where his fastball wOBA jumped 59 points.
If his arm is in good shape and he can lean on those secondary pitches once again, look for Blackburn to pick up where he left off in May of last year.