Stat Line: 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 9 H, 4 K, 1 BB
After effectively completing his first three innings Thursday night, Bartolo Colon gave up six runs on six hits during the fourth inning to the tough Toronto Blue Jays lineup. This article seeks to explain the cause of Colon’s struggles during the fourth inning.
Flaw in Pitching Mechanics
Colon struggled to consistently finish his pitches or more commonly known as following through in his pitching motion. Following through in a pitching motion is the ability for a pitcher to get their throwing arm and release point of the baseball as far out over your front leg as possible. This allows for a pitchers fingers to stay on top of the baseball at release which allows for two important results:
- Maximizes the pitchers ability to manipulate the movement on the baseball in whichever direction they desire (10 to 5 two-seam fastball, 12 to 6 curveball etc.)
- Helps keep the baseball on a downward trajectory which typically results in locating the baseball low in the strike zone
Specifically, Colon struggled to follow through on this two-seam fastball, which also known in the baseball community as “slinging” his fastball.
This results in an inconsistent release point, forcing Colon’s fingers to cut across the baseball at release instead of on top of the baseball to push down or over the baseball.
This also creates a lack of command on both sides of the plate, a two-seam fastball that will move from 9 to 3 rather than 10 to 5 and forces the baseball to travel on a higher plane thus crossing the plate at the height of the hitter’s thigh and belly-button.
Five of the six singles during Colon’s fourth inning came off of thigh to belly-button high two-seam fastballs.
It should be noted that Colon did a great job of finishing his motion with his four-seam fastballs thrown at 91 to 93 mph as seen in all three of his strikeouts against Justin Smoak.
There are two ways to analyze this outing:
- Concern: Since Colon is so reliant on his two-seam fastball, he will struggle against better hitting teams when lacking fastball command low in the strike zone since he has no strong second pitch to turn to.
- Optimism: The Blue Jays are a strong hitting team that put together six singles in one inning against a struggling Colon. Not only do struggling pitches get destroyed against this Blue Jays lineup but stringing together six singles in one inning doesn’t happen often
Stat of the Night
As per Brooks Baseball PitchF/X Tool: Colon threw only nine off-speed pitches out of a total 82 pitches thrown translating to a minuscule 10.9% off-speed pitch usage rate.
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