Ohlendorf Discovers Slider, Changeup

The Post-Gazette rightly points out that Ross Ohlendorf mixed in a lot more offspeed stuff, including a very nice slider, last night in defeating the Marlins, whereas in his first two starts (one relatively successful, one not) he relied very heavily on his fastball and sinker.

Will the real Ross Ohlendorf please stand up? He arrived in the Pirates organization pitching 99 MPH but, despite the benefit of a Princeton education, not knowing how to mix his breaking pitches in with his fastball. Then when he showed up in Pittsburgh later that year, he threw 92. In his first start this year, he threw 90 or so as a fastball/sinker pitcher, and in his third start he finally started blending in his slider and changeup, to great effect.

Can someone with more firsthand baseball knowledge help me find a pattern here? I get that he was tired down the stretch last year and that's the stated reason for the velocity loss, but is there any reason, beyond the fact that velocity is just generally unreliable, that it hasn't come back? And why doesn't Ohlendorf mix in his slider and changeup in every start? Again, I get that the stuff one will have on any given night is unpredictable and that a pitcher needs to change his approach to suit different teams; for example, tonight Ohlendorf said that he mixed in his slider and changeup because the Marlins like hitting fastballs. But few pitchers are as unpredictable from night to night than Ohlendorf is, and I think he'd be a lot better off if he mixed in all his pitches every start.

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