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« Phil Hughes Tinkers With his Curveball | Main | The dulling of Mariano's cutter »

Zito Throws a Curve

Barry Zito of the San Francisco Giants made consecutive starts against the San Diego Padres.  In the first, he pitched brilliantly, walking none and striking out seven, allowing one run during seven innings of work.  In the second, Saturday night, Barry walked four and struck out three, giving up eight runs in 3 2/3 innings. Talking to the AP after the game, Zito blamed his curve ball:

"It was difficult for me to get the ball down tonight," Zito said. "For the most part, the curveball didn't have the finish down, and the change up, either."

Zito's curve baffled the Padres in the 7/7 game:

Barry Zito, curve ball, 7/7/2011. Location on the left, movement on the right.Zito threw the pitch for strikes, getting nice movement in and down on right-handed batters.  He threw 29 curves, representing 27% of his pitches that day. Of those,  65%  resulted in strikes, batters going 0 for 5 with two strikeouts when it was the deciding pitch.

The pitch missed on 7/16:

Barry Zito, curve ball, 7/16/2011. Location on the left, movement on the right.Barry could not get the pitch inside on right-handers.  He also left the pitch up.  You can see the difference in the movement, as much less lateral movement kept the pitch outside the strike zone, and a bit less vertical movement helped keep it high.  Zito threw his curve in this game 22.4% of the time, only 47% of them resulting in strikes.  The two San Diego batters put in play resulted in hits. although Barry did manage two strikeouts on the pitch.

Zito could not depend on the pitch, however, so he went to the fastball more.  Since Barry's fastball isn't that fast, and his control of that pitch wasn't that good, so Padres batters managed two hits and two walks off that pitch, chased Barry from the game early.

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