This article is part of our Bernie on the Scene series.
Nothing Comes In Straight
Major League baseball players have to learn to live with wrinkles. It seems that every pitch we see now moves. Dramatically.
One of the most prominent components of this short "sprint" season is the increased use of the cutter by pitchers. And the changeup. And the slider.
The cutter is a pitch that moves very slightly toward the pitcher's glove side as it arrives at the plate. The slider has a fast, sweeping movement. The cutter has a more subtle, last-second movement that is intended to miss the barrel of the bat. And it works.
The cutter is hurting hitters like Christian Yelich — especially from left-handed pitchers. Timing and balance are both impacted by that late, late movement. The ball looks to be fairly straight and then … it's gone. The result is weak or no contact.
Cutters, sliders and changeups are all deceptive pitches. They are less easily determined out of the hand than a curve ball. A curve ball has much more movement.
Changeups are also killing big, strong hitters. The guys with the big bodies usually feast on fastballs. But if a pitcher can take some velocity off his fastball and get downward movement, the big hitter finds himself totally off balance. The key to the changeup is not changing the arm motion and release point at all. The same delivery while taking velocity off the ball is tough to pick up by a hitter. Lucas Giolito is a master of the