The Cubs won game two against the Diamondbacks on Friday, evening the four-games series.
Updating the one of the major themes for today's Cubs starter is our first order of business.
Matt Garza has modified his power approach to include more power sliders. Which is a nice way of saying he's not relying on his fastballs anymore. The trend is evident in his pitch mix, particularly against righties going back a few years.
Including sliders in the "soft" group, where they belong, the trend towards fewer fastballs (of both varieties) becomes more evident.
Setting aside the change-up, we can break-out the hard stuff and the breaking stuff to see the relative usage of those pitches over time.
Less preference for the curve against lefties, but a growing preference against righties. More four-seam fastballs in general, which is more of a power pitch than the two-seam (if you're splitting hairs).
Who knows what this all means, Garza has changed his mix/approach, talked about it in way that did or did not jive with the actual trends on the mound...he's an interesting guy, so every day could bring a surprise.
The Diamondbacks are countering with Ian Kennedy. What I'm calling a "slider" below is quite possibly two pitches, one thrown earlier in his career and one in the more recent years (cutterish). He may even throw both, but let's pretend they're all sliders. Or slutters.
Sticking to 2010 and 2011, the former being his first real full season in the majors, we can detect some slight changes in approach in this young season.
Kennedy isn't breaking out the change too much--yet. He's also throwing fewer sinkers and more curveballs to lefties. Meanwhile, it's more sliders and fewer curveballs to righties. Again, it's early.
There's an apparent difference in pitch location against righties this year. That's also subject to change radically before Memorial Day.