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A Cutter for Hughes

From Chad Jennings:

Did you know Phil Hughes (left) has scrapped his slider in favor of a cutter? I did not. But once I found out, tonight's outing made a lot more sense. 

Throughout the game, Hughes kept having success with an 87-89 mph pitch that seemed to have more movement than his regular fastball but too much velocity for a slider. He used it to strike out George Kottaras in the first inning, he used it to get a double play in the second, and he threw it off the plate to setup a 93 mph fastball for his final strikeout in the fifth. I thought he might be taking something off his fastball and getting a little extra movement, but no. New pitch. New to me, anyway...

My own ignorance of the Phil Hughes arsenal aside, the guy pitched pretty well tonight. His fastball touched 95 four times in the first inning, and regularly sat 93-94 most of the night. He leaned heavily on the fastball and cutter through the first three innings before mixing in his other pitches more often in the fourth and fifth. He threw three straight changeups the second time he faced Chris Carter. The first two missed up. The third got a routine popup.

That's news to me as well.  I don't see any advantage or disadvantage to it beyond the psychological.  And if the cutter works for him and keeps guys a little more honest on his fastball, then it's a plus.

I praised Joba when I heard he'd been tinkering with a sinker, so now I feel obliged to tip my cap to the 22 year-old with a strong work ethic.  What he was doing before he got hurt wasn't good enough, so he set about making a few changes.

We have to hope it works because he gets another tuneup and then I bet he's in the Bronx.