Over his last two starts, Chad Kuhl has rediscovered how to induce ground balls with his sinker. According to Clint Hurdle, the right-hander made adjustments after a "black and white" conversation the two of them shared following his July start vs. the Cubs.
"[We talked about] the number of fly balls to ground balls and I wanted to know what his thoughts were," Hurdle said. "He said, 'I have to throw it lower.' I mean, that sounds really simplistic, but the point being at the end of the day you talk about a lot of things, but at the end of the day he needs to throw it lower."
A quick look at the heat map for Kuhl's sinker shows the improved location:
First four starts:
Last two starts:
What's changed? According to Hurdle, the primary adjustment Kuhl's made is simply settling down.
"The adrenaline was ramped up too, which is something most young pitchers have to face, especially if they are a touch-and-feel guy," Hurdle said. "If you get over-amped, you throw right through the sink, and that's really what happened, I believe, the first three starts. The adrenaline was running hot and he threw through the sink."
All the numbers are trending in the right direction with a bullet in his last two starts.
|First four starts||32.26%||.394./727||93.32 MPH|
|Last two starts||61.54%||.235/.294||93.12 MPH|
Not a hard call
Hurdle described Don Mattingly's decision to intentionally walk Starling Marte to face Andrew McCutchen in the bottom of the ninth of Friday's game as, "not an easy call, but it's not a hard call."
Hurdle added he was "good with the decision," especially with the way McCutchen's hitting recently. He acknowledged there is a "very good chance" he would have made the same decision if he was in Mattingly's position.
McCutchen grounded into a double play to end the game.
Tyler Glasnow threw a bullpen session yesterday. Hurdle said it went "well" and the club is scheduling a rehabilitation start.
Most Pirates' fans remember Joel Hanrahan's penchant for roller coaster, white knuckled saves. Hurdle said today that he used to calls those outings, "HanraTacks." After imitating one of those saves in San Francisco, Tony Watson asked Hurdle if he had come up with term for his tight wire saves yet.
"[Tony] said, 'But you had the HanraTack for Joel. Do you have anything for me yet?'" Hurdle said "I said, 'I'm working on it.' Hopefully, we can get some more of those quick three-out saves. Those were pretty cool, too."