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Thinking About Mike Mussina

Using Gameday's pitch tracker (the setup for which you can read about here), I went back over Mike Mussina's first start to see if we can see a difference in his pitches.

Now, the biggest knock I have on Gameday is its pitch recognition. These must be preset names given to standard ranges of speed and break. I don't care how many times Gameday calls that 85 MPH pitch with the 7" break a changeup- I know that's Mike Mussina's fastball (still, that's a lot of break on a fastball; then again, moving that slowly, gravity has plenty of time to work its magic).

Mussina was ahead of the batter 0-1 11 times, 0-2 3 times, and 1-2 6 times last night. Compared to his first start when he reached those same plateaus 14, 9, and 2 times (respectively) I can't say it was a matter of getting ahead in the counts.

So what was different?
The boys over at RAB say that Moose threw fewer fastballs- 60 percent in his first outing, down to 38% last night.

What leapt out at me was that Mussina had an additional pitch working. A 70MPH pitch with a 10" break; a splitter or a tighter curve? Check out this clip, he throws it 1st, 4th, and 6th in this sequence (sorry, it's a long clip for a few pitches).

It's not a swing and miss pitch (Gomez deposited one just like into the stands), but the difference in speed and break must have helped to keep the hitters off-balance.
Either that, or it was just dumb luck.

What do you think?