Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Papelbon's "New" Pitch

Baseball has always had its sluts, but Papelbon has upped the ante with his "Slutter."

Pitchers like to be known for their pitches. Sutter's splitter, Fernando's screwball, Mussina's late 90's knuckle-curve, Mariano's cutter, and Michael Kay's pet name for Clemens signature pitch: Mr. Splitty, just to name a few. Jonathan Papelbon is known as a good pitcher, but other than simply having pinpoint control of his two and four seam fastballs, he doesn't really have a signature pitch. He throws a splitter and will now and again lead with a mediocre slider to a batter he thinks is sitting fastball, but his strikeout pitch is his fastball. So I guess in an attempt to further cement he and his pitches into the popular vernacular, Papelbon created a "new pitch" last night, or at least a new name for a pitch: The Slutter:
He threw Jonny Gomes a "slutter." That's what Jonathan Papelbon calls his new pitch -- a combination cut fastball and slider.

Kyle Snyder stood behind him, mouthing the words, "Don't print that . . ." But Papelbon was serious. He spoke about how he throws it with his palm out and how he doesn't "pronate through the ball" when he throws it. He was very serious. He said it wasn't a true slider or a cutter because of the angle at which the ball travels.
Well, ok then. It has to do with lack of pronation. That makes sense. It was my understanding that a cutter and slider were pretty much the same thing except a cutter has less downward movement. Though I guess to be fair there is not a whole lot of difference between a changeup and a split finger in that both are choked so as to appear like a fastball but lack the velocity. So it would seem that even the most minute of grip changes can lead to a new pitch if one so desires to advertise their grip/pitch as novel. It would also seem that giving your pitches names will come back to bite you if ever that pitch is hit 450ft in a big game. So don't say I didn't warn you, J-O-N, when the Post headline reads: "A-Roid Hits Paplebon's Slutter Into A South Bronx Gutter!"

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