Forget About The Change-Up…Give Em The Heater

An article by posted on August 6, 2012

It’s 5:20 PM, and it’s the bottom of the fifth inning of the New York Mets vs. San Diego Padres game. This is the first time I have ever started to write anything before a game was finished, but I have to get this off my chest.

Why are the Mets insisting on Matt Harvey throwing so many change-ups?

I don’t see the logic. I see the logic in the change-up, just not in the way Harvey is using it. Harvey should be using that change-up as an out pitch. Throw a guy four or five 95mph fastballs, then the change-up becomes effective. The problem is Harvey is throwing it far too often.  It isn’t fooling anyone. Your fastball got you here kid…use it.

The reason why I am so opposed to force feeding this kid the change-up is because of what is said to have happened to Doc Gooden after Mel Stottlemyre pushed the change-up into Doc’s repertoire. There is the argument that the change-up altered the Doc’s release point, and he was never as dominant a pitcher as he was before the change-up. He was still great, but never as dominant as in 1985. There is also another argument that drugs and alcohol were the reason. I’m sure that had something to do with it as well.

I’m sure the Mets brass doesn’t want Harvey burning out his arm early in his career like a lot of young fire-ballers do, so they want him to throw more change-ups. At least that’s the only reason I can conjure up as to why he would be throwing so many change-ups. Let’s put it this way, in Harvey’s first start he dominated, and we saw very few change-ups. In his two starts since, he has thrown many more change-ups, and he has been the dominated one. There is nothing wrong with throwing a change-up, as long as he uses it in the right places. It can be a very effective pitch to keep hitters off balance after seeing a slew of mid 90s fastballs. Unfortunately, it looks like he is learning this lesson the hard way.

Harvey is a young pitcher with a ton of potential, but he is going to take his bumps and bruises as he learns to pitch at this level. My advice to Harvey is simple: Forget about the change-up Matty…give em the heater!

You can follow Mitch Petanick for more Mets insights on Twitter @firstpitchmitch, and on his personal blog The Petanick Chronicles.

 

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