Updated:No, that's not a slider.
Rich Harden was pretty impressive on Saturday against the Giants. His command wasn't sharp the whole time out, but he was able to throw two or three pitches and change speeds. He dialed up some serious heat towards the end, so this looks like a guy who has figured out how to pitch in a way that's compatible with his physical make-up. Or limitations.
That may be optimistic on my part, but I get the feeling he's not the next Mark Prior. He's not the next Jim Palmer, either, but he's something very special and adds a dimension to the Cubs that they didn't have before: A second guy with no-hit stuff.
Maddog talked about what he saw from Harden in the comments in Friday's post.
I think Harden is throwing some sliders. I know I saw a couple yesterday, but not many at all (less than 5 and maybe even only 2 or 3). He's strictly fastball/changeup for the most part.
I pulled down the PFX numbers from last night, and, guess what, I think Maddog is spot on.
There's more in the comments from me and Jon (who I believe is the spokesman for northsidebaseball.com) and a great link.
Jon Quoting Rob Bowen:His changeup acts like three different pitches, and one of them has real similar action to a split.
I added a comment, retracting my previous assertion(s) about the "slider". Change-ups, Benjamin, Change-ups. And some sliders.
The small sample exaggerates the slider's position in the aggregate view.
Not fair. Not fair at all.
Harden missed too much by his own standard, but Rich was pretty pumped-up, too.
Again, a righty working ahead on righties, behind a lefties. Something for future research....
I'll be going back, at some point, to review Harden's pitches from my previous posts and see if I can sort them out into something that is more accurate.