Sorting through the Taijuan Wreckage
A few compasses to be found, perhaps even a black box


Problem A

Dr. D was amazed during the game.  Every time Taijuan went for a low 88 MPH spikeball, he floated off a high 88 mph sailer:

Exhibit A:  Taijuan fanned Rollins to start the game, worked Grandal to 1-1, and then threw an 89 spikeball that stayed up:

Now, that one's quibbling a bit. On the camera it looked higher; F/X gives is as a little too high, but showed up on the camera as wayyy too high, and too centered.  Nevertheless 91 is way too firm for a change, it splits the plate, the pitch is well into the "mediocre spikeball" territiory, and it was a clean single.  ::shrug ::


Next pitch, AGone.  If you don't know what's wrong with this 89 "cutter," you better ax somebody.  (Taijuan got away with it).


Taijuan then WALKED somebody, which is generally related to command issues obliquely, I think.


Same 1IP, next hitter, Ethier, note pitches 1 and 4.  Those are (nominally) spikeballs.  (Both clocked 89 MPH; sorry for the feeble image capture)  They should be at the knees or dropping below the knees.  Every time, or 90% of the time.  Where ARE pitches 1 and 4?

Pitch 4, the high-away spikeball (!!), gets smacked into LF by Ethier.  As it should have been.  88 MPH belt high is a batting-practice pitch.


The final wreckage comes on a fastball that is -4 MPH on velocity -- "aiming" the ball as Gordon put it.  There is a problem with the location.  See if you can SPOT! it.


The above images should convey the "touch and feel," as they say.  Pitch SELECTION doesn't matter much when pitch EXECUTION, isn't.


SIIIGGGGhhhhhhhh... one mo' 

The spikeballs in the second inning:

  • Two thrown to Pederson, both sailed above the hands (result:  leadoff BB)
  • Two 89 MPH "cutters" (= spikeball for practical purposes) to Rollins.  One above the zone for a ball; the other above the hands.  Result:  BB
  • Two 89 MPH Splitters/Cutters to Grandal, both top of the zone.  Result:  BB
  • 89 "fastball" (?) at the umbilical to Adrian Gonzalez, swatted into RF for a hit


Dr D typed all that into the post so that you, Gentle Reader, would be comforted that you are receiving live-action, detail analysis --- > as opposed to guesses, cliches and opinions.

That's just problem #1:  the spikeballs were sailing on Taijuan.  Badly.  The cutters were only marginally better.

Having positioned the clipboard summary with X% credibility -- depending on your length of service here -- we'll Cliffs Notes the other problems, and then the path forward.


Two Can Play at This Game

The Dodgers are currently sporting a $268M payroll.  As Rick first pointed out, they're not missing a lot of pitches.  Dodgers = new Yankees?

Many, many times during the course of 162, a starter pitches "meh" and.... afterward, the beat writers crowd his locker, gloryifing him and asking him "whence the domination?"  Not so these last 2 games.  Taijuan was sloppy, the other teams were razor sharp. That's all.


A coherent fastball

There's an art to making a batter respect your fastball.  McClendon touched on this a bit, postgame.  ... In spring training, Taijuan was successfully throwing 96 inside for strike one.  On a 1-1 count, he was delivering the goods, 96 on the black.  It gets to whether the hitters buy in.

Nobody, at any time, bought into the Taijuan fastball.  It simply was not a "weapon."  Not in the sense it will be.

He was incoherent with the fastball, lousy with the offspeed, facing sharp lineups, and he got KO'ed.  That's all.


Dr's R/X

It would be one thing if we had not seen Taijuan Walker execute his game -- establish located fastballs, come back with well-located spikeballs and cutters.  But we have seen these.

The appropriate response is to nurture and cultivate a return to form.  For him, K-Pax, and Iwakuma also.

Annoying, but part of doing business over the course of 162 games. We always gush over the Whiteys, Earls, and Lou's who can point their fingers and say, "THAT one."  If nobody else will join me, Dr. D is only too glad to cast his lot on Taijuan.  He's GM, Taijuan is in there.  Work to be done, sirs.

Keep da faith,

Dr D








Let me start with 1.yes I know this is the major leagues and 2. the Mariners REALLY needed Taijuan to get into the 6th inning yesterday so pitch count matters.
However whenever I was coaching KIDS and they were having trouble with a certain pitch or release point or etc AND I was not able to talk the pitcher through the corrections needed... I would take the back up catcher and the pitcher to the bullpen and work on what was wrong DURING the game. This way hopefully the pitcher could make the needed correction and be ready for the next inning. Usually this only took 5 to 8 pitches and normally was very quick.
Now again I can see how a MLB player may not appreciate being called out like this BUT there has to be somewhere that Waits could take Taijuan and try to fix his release point on this pitch between innings.


I was glad that he hit the batter last night. If I'm him I keep doing that. It won't help his command but it darn well might make the hitter a little less comfortable up there. The hitters are digging in and waiting for that fat 90mph mistake and he's making a lot of them. 96mph FB to the first batter's ribs and he might have a little more leeway.


I saw your former holdout partner in the pregame ceremonies on Wednesday night. Give my regard to Gibby too.


Warmup work between innings is banned or something in MLB.
Japanese pitchers usually do long-toss between innings in the NPB but they don't in America and I think I've read they're not allowed to.

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