Smyly throws Royals a curveball (or a slider, or a slurve)

If you read the game story from last night on the site, you’ve already read plenty about the adjustments Drew Smyly made to get out of his midseason doldrums, his breaking ball foremost among them. He says he tweaked it, but did he maybe come up with a different pitch?

His breaking pitch has sometimes been described as a slider, but the movement on it last night looked more like a curveball. Moreover, Smyly called it a curveball.

“Tonight it was a curve,” Smyly said after the game. “I think I got away from what I was throwing, and it was kind of slurvy. But over the past couple weeks, me and [pitching coach Jeff Jones] have been working on staying closed [in my delivery]. When I fly open, that’s when things start to get kind of flat. When I stay closed, it makes is more [overhand].”

The break was sharper, but just as important, the delivery makes it look like he’s about to throw a fastball.

“I threw a lot of them in the dirt and they were swinging at them over and over,” Smyly said. “That tells me they were thinking it was something else.”

According to data on MLB.com Gameday and brooksbaseball.net, Smyly threw 43 breaking balls, nearly matching his fastball total (48). He got 28 strikes from it, and eight swings and misses, more than he got on his other four pitches combined.

It was a huge difference against the Royals, who struck out just four times in six innings against Smyly April 17 at Kauffman Stadium. He threw 63 fastballs and 18 sliders in that outing, and got just two swings and misses out of the latter.

Smyly believes he can throw it both styles and essentially give himself an extra pitch midway through his rookie season.

“I’m still working on mixing in both of them, both the slurve and the curveball,” he said. “It’s the same pitch, but you can just kind of throw it softer and harder. Today was the best it’s been in a while, and I was really throwing hard. I was able to control it. I was throwing for strikes, too. That really helped me out.”

74 Comments

I believe the key today will be our 5,6,7 hitters. We have to get at least 2 of those guys making contributions today.
Comment: How fast is Berry? I think he might be scary faast., On his triple yesterday he did not “bust it” out of the batter’s box. The ball did not even make it to the warning track (let alone the wall) and he could have stood up going in to 3rd. That’s fast.
Hopefully we see some of that speed today.

Not watching right now, but through top of first Fister still doesn’t have it

GK .. it is a good thing you are not watch. You would hate CB Bucknor and it always moving strike zone. He is a joke.
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Whew … Almost a disastrous two out rally by them.
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Gonna need to score a bunch today, boys.
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Go Tigers.
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— Bob

Home now, Dickerson and Price on the radio were complaining about the strike zone and it’s inconsistency too. Now all the hits Fister gave up in the 1st were they seeing eye ground balls or lasers?

Got home just in time to see the second inning.

QB has done some nice work for us but I must say he has some really lousy at bats at times. Seems like his swing is kinf of long and looping rtahter than quick and compact, which you would expect from a smaller speey guy.

Nice to have that 4 run lead on the sac fly but boy is our base-running ever horrible. Santiago hugging the bag on a fly ball he should have been playing half way ( they scored anyway on a bad throw), Laird just now, Lamont holding Santiago up late after he was around the bag and Francouer not having even picked the ball up yet.
Peralta singling off the top of the wall (we’re not at Fenway). AJ getting picked off.
We generally got the runs in but the heads up base running has been very poor today.

Only RR would lose his glove jumping at the wall. Honestly, the poor guy has no luck at all. His is just a magnet for crazy things. Can the guy catch a break?
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— Bob

To answer my own question: No, apparently not.
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— Bob

Add Raburn to that. Wheeesh.
Actually he shouldn’t even have been there because he was out at 1st in what should have been a DP.
Sure glad he got that double to break the 0 for 12. This is one guy who can guarantee a job for himself simply by showing up at the ball park on game day.

They give an error on that play? It takes an outstanding play to get Laird out on that. That is a hit all the way. yesterday Raburn clanks one and it’s ruled a hit!
I don’t get it.

They changed it.
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— Bob

Here goes JL. Wants to over-manage before the ASB

Whatever happens this game—I like what I saw from Fister.
Brayan Villa is frustrating. He insists on going fastball in 0-2 counts even though he has a good slider that makes his fastball even better. He has to be instructed to pitch differently. We have seen first hand what you can expect from hard throwers like Zumaya and JV when they get arrogant and predictable.
Smarten up and improve. yourself.

didn’t see Fister pitch. his final line doesn’t look particularly good. what did you see from him that was encouraging?

DY may be ready to go on a tear. We need it.
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— Bob

VMart before ASG: 6 HR. 50 RBI. RISP:394
DY: 9 HR. 36 RBI. RISP:297.
Last 10 days:325. 3HR 8 RBI
Fielder last 10 days:229.2 HR 10 RBI
Cabrera last 10 days:514.3 HR 11 RBI

DY was Twins Raburn. Well, he is coming into form. 16HR, 80 RBI projected are not that bad.
Raburn must be send to Toledo to find himself back. They are destroying him. Both fans and JL. How long could he take that humilliation?

Good info. With Cabrera going ofer today after carrying us with his power and .500 average, it was good to see the other guys step up. DY is heating up and Fielder is starting to go yard with baserunners on. Fister is still not at his dominating best and Valverde went dramatic again after several solid outings. Hope that is an an aberationon his part.

VV has pitched two days in a row and this is not a save situation. I dont understand this decision. Now, you wont have him for tomorrow.
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And he obviously does not have it today and there is nothing left in the pen except for Dotel and Below because JL was too busy showing his geniuos at all the lefty right matchups he was doing in the seventh.
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If they blow this, it is on VV and JL. Nobody else.
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— Bob

No PaPa

Feel like I’m having a heart attack.

I’ll survive! Go tigers!!!!!!!!!11

Whew!!! … They won despite JL.
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One more tomorrow and we get the 5-2 homestand we wanted.
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— Bob

We had several missed opportunities to add on and, predictably, it almost came back to bite us. I guess Dotel was warming in the 9th in case they tied it?
Just when you think it’s getting better, more problems resurrect themselves.
Bottom line: a win is a win. One day at a time. They will drive us crazy at least another 60 times this year, maybe more.

JL over thinks when it comes to lineup situations for a manager who doesn’t use a computer or know how to find stats. His misuse of the BP for 1 out here, 1 our there in the latter innings is BS!! Now you have to hope your team scores ALOT of runs on Sunday or that MAX pitches a gem tomorrow. Go TIG’s!!!

Well ladies and gentleman, they don’t call him “Big Potato” for nothing. He came close to being french fried and mashed all in one today. Just do not believe that he’s the man I’d use with a four run lead. But in the end, Fister finally gets a win, and we move back over the .500 mark. In spite of VV, I did see three things that I liked about today’s game:
1. A good solid contribution from the bottom third of the order; Gene Money continues to contribute each time he’s behind the plate. After the break, I’d have him in there a minimum of every fourth game. If Alex gets his stroke back, make the adjustment on Laird’s time.
2. Downs’ strikeout of Hosmer in the 6th. Kept things from getting totally out of control then, instead of the 9th. We have been lucky with some of our new pitchers this year. Keep thinking Al!
3. Fister only gave up three hits from the second on. He looked more comfortable, and hopefully he has turned the corner.

I loved the two two run homers, especially “Don’t Walk Me” Delmon, but i try to pick out some of the secondary positives. I’m almost numb with excitement; dare we hope for a five streak tomorrow? God evening to all!

i don’t want to hear anything more about delmon disappointing. He looks to be getting red hot.
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on another note, i think raburn is gone unless he hits +.500 with power tomorrow.

I think you made excellent points.

Gone? Where’s he going?

cut, rich. cut.

Can’t cut him till you can replace him.

well yea i guess that is true but it’s not a problem once you realize danny worth has hit for a better average this year. Defensively, the OF has berry, jackson, boesch and delmon (+ dirks eventually) and the IF could use worth as an IF utility guy with Santiago at 2nd (until we get scuturo (wink)).

Worth will probably be back post break anyway since we’ll drop the 13th pitcher from the roster.

mmmm yea that is a good point.

I just can’t stand the ignorant acceptance of not being reqired or unable to hold a runner on 1st. Valverde is gonna break our hearts with defensive indifference yet.
It’s almost a contradiction— a closer who doesn’t care about the men on base.

Valverde drives me nuts in more ways than he has pitches. 1) defensive indifference, 2) excessive celebration, 3) inability to pitch unless game on line, etc.

Any pitcher that checks the runner over his back shoulder is not going to hold anyone on. Add that to the list.

honestly i’m excited when i think about developing Marte or Villareal or AL^2 into a closer. All of those pitchers got great stuff.

Or down on the farm there’s Bruce Rondon.

That dude is Wild with a capital W. He can throw a ball through a brick wall, though. That’s a work in progress for sure.

Raburn is not starting today. JL may wait till Dirks returns to make a decision on Raburn, assuming a trade is not made for another bat before then.

Latest news post on MLB.com has Weaver staking claim to start ASG. He reduced his ERA to below 2 and increased his win total to 10 last night.

Good. Let him pitch the whole game.

Jered Weaver is as big of a hot headed jerk as his brother, last year not withstanding. I hope he does and he’s hurt. I just can’t get behind that angels team, nothing likable there to me.

Yeah. It would be nice not to have to face him in our upcoming series. With the exception of Wilson, the rest of the Angel staff is in trouble. Haren and Williams are on the DL, and Santana is a wild roller coaster ride.

@BBritten_Tigers
Lineup:Jackson 8, Berry 7, Cabrera 5, Fielder 3, Young dh, Boesch 9, Peralta 6, Avila 2, Santiago 4. Scherzer 1

A handful of our starting lineup has faced today’s starter once only, the rest never. Nobody has any hits. They’ll have to figure it out as they go.

I’t’s been a trip so far to this point.
We have some things that definitely need to change–and some are.
DY is starting to hit and maybe adjust to his role as DH. I don’t love him on this team–certainly not as anything but a DH. He will never be a “good” hitter, simply by the fact he is undisciplined, but, as I have mentioned before, he is a guy who can hit maniacally enough to carry the team for a while. Let’s hope he has found his way because theat bat in the 5 hole is absolutely critical.
As to Jhonny Peralta. What’s happened with this guy. He seems like he “can’t” play with verve or determination. Almost seems like he is going through the motions and has become small at the plate. No gusto, no power, acceptance of swinging and missing. He seems to “anchor” the infield. And I don’t mean that in a philosophical or motivational way. He is playing like he is carrying an anchor. Can’t get to balls over 2nd base anymore, never was really good at going to the hole, and the little loopers over his head almost always fall in. His arm has lost accuracy, quickness and strength.
We need this guy to be a player for us. A solid everyday contributor. The MR. RELIABLE we came to depend on so much last year. We can live with the limited range but the diminishment of his other attributes offensively and defensively have impacted the club.
I am hoping for a reinvigorated JP after the break. He and Alex need to provide a little more excitement and determination for us.

Well the first 3 Tigers hitters looked well not o good against Teaford. Give them one time through then I need to see something.

peralta and alex looking pretty good tho!

That’s crucial. It makes a world of difference when JP is part of the offense. He looked like he meant business with that swing.
I am not in the habit of giving JL too much credit but I will say I give him credit for having the gumption to play Boesch today instead of Raburn.
JL gets mired in proving out his strategies and for him to take RR out against the lefty today was probably not an easy one for him.

DELMON MEH GAWD!!!

Now, time to call out Avila, it worked with Delmon and Jhonny

woah jhonny hasn’t proved anything yet. He’s .358 in the past 19 ABs (b4 todays game)…..so yeah, gotta see more

.358 OPS sorry

I’ve been doing that!
BTW, What is with all these 0-2 fastballs Avila has been calling. Francouer is dead meat on a 0-2 slider or change. Max threw two 0-2 fastballs to him. I don’t see the necessity to do that against a fastball hitter.
Been seeing a lot of that lately. Hate it when BV does it. Drives me crazy because BV has a really nice slider but chooses to pitch predictably. Actually cost us a run yesterday.

Who call the game? JL or AA? Scioscia call it by himself

calls

Miggy has missed out on some easier type RBIs lately.
Very prescient moment in the game now. 1st & 3rd with Prince up and 1 out.
Game-changing.
Let’s see what he can do.
Interesting move by Yost. He knows it too.

Well he hit it really far!

He was due to fail. He was hitting 514 with 11 RBI in his last 10 games. 18 for 36

When are the ASG starting pitchers actually announced? KC announcer Hudler is really supportive of JV, and he is a former Angel player and announcer

I was wondering the same thing?

Since he pitched yesterday will be no Weaver.It is among JV, Price and Seale.

Check the MLB.com Latest News posts by jornalists. A Weaver stakes ASG claim to start indicates he is a frontrunner. I imagine he would only go an inning if selected.

Yes, he said he would go a inning. But I really doubt his team would allow him to do that

There is more than 1 article on Weaver. The petnent one is listed under More Headlines.

Definitely a game-changer. We’d be sweating bullets now if Prince had K’d against Collins. Collins is dealin’. That was a clutch AB and we have been subjected to a lot failures in that regard the first half.
Be interesting to see if anything happens over the break. We still could use a good (off & def) RHB corner OFer. Important not to forget the “D”.
Can’t really expect Dirks to come back where he left off. I’d be very surprised with that.

One step at a time, the offense is saying present.

It’s been great to see. Funny though how a player can get so lost that you know that they can’t, under any circumstance, get the the job done. Avila is like that right now. 2-0 count 2nd and 3rd and you know he wasn’t going to be able to do anything.
I like the idea that Dotel is throwing the 9th. Don’t be too surprised if he doesn’t end up closing before this is all said and done.
JL is a SOC but even he will have to face reality and if it starts slapping you on the side of the head.

Nice way to go into the break, 5 in a row! Wow, JL finally used Dotel in the 9th in a non-save situation. Good thing he couldn’t use VV as he may have hurt his confidence yesterday.

Seen a few positives in the past 2 series with the bottom (5-9) of the order contributing and the SP’s hopefully getting in a mid-summer groove. JV is gaining confidence and getting run support with RP & MAX showing steadiness. Smyly who has been a pleasant surprise will be most likely on innings limits in the 2nd half and Fister needs to get his arm strength/confidence back. Enjoy the AS break! I’ll be in KC tomorrow hopefully with a great seat.

Have fun! Well good way to finish. Delmon and Peralta beginning to look a little more like themselves. However I don’t expect DY to get a homer everyday. Max looked good today again. Feeling a little more positive right now. A little. Tough schedule coming out of the break so time will tell.

as i start to digest the first half stats I stumble upon this gem I thought appropriate for others to chew on. The Detroit Tigers, verse left handed pitching, have grounded in to the most double plays in the league (31).

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