Plenty of pitches, only one task — Get the out | Baseball notebook
Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan had a blazing fastball, the first ever clocked at 100 mph, during 27 seasons that included 5,714 strikeouts...
Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan had a blazing fastball, the first ever clocked at 100 mph, during 27 seasons that included 5,714 strikeouts and seven no-hitters.
Mariano Rivera has used a devastating, bat-cracking cutter for a record 608 saves and as part of five World Series championships with the New York Yankees.
R.A. Dickey? The former Mariner mastered one pitch, the knuckleball, and at age 37 became an All-Star for the first time.
Then Yu Darvish came to America this year with at least seven different pitches, and maybe more depending on how you might classify his repertoire.
There are fastballs, sliders, curves, slurves, palmballs, splitters, forkballs and even the infamous gyroball.
But are there really that many more pitches these days? Or are things more specific because of all the advance scouting and modern technology that can track the speed and movement of every pitch?
"Now you're talking about two-seamers, four-seamers and cutters. That can be three pitches off the fastball, where before it was just a fastball," said Arizona manager Bob Melvin, a former big-league catcher. "I think with video and bats and breaking things down and analyzing now, now you're just getting a little more complex where those pitchers might have been there in the past, but now they're designated all as different pitches."
More than the typical fastball, curve, slider and change of the past.
"I put down one (finger) and got whatever they threw me," said Melvin, the former Mariners manager who played in the majors from 1985 to '94.
Like Darvish with his wide variety of pitches or Dickey and his specialized toss, every pitcher who has ever stood on a mound is trying to do the same thing: Get the guy out.
Mariners right-hander Kevin Millwood, who last month threw the first six innings of a combined no-hitter, is in the 16th season of his major-league career that began in Atlanta when he was on a staff with four-time Cy Young winner Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz.
"I guess you can have as many pitches as you want as long as you can control them and know where they're going. I have a hard enough time with four," Millwood said with a chuckle.
• The National League's 8-0 victory set a record-low rating of 6.8 for baseball's All-Star Game, just four-hundredths of a point below last year's figure. Still, the total audience that watched any portion of the game was 27.7 million, up 7 percent from last year.
• The Mets say RHP Dillon Gee is being discharged from the hospital after having surgery to break up a blood clot in his throwing shoulder, but that he could have further surgery to prevent a possible recurrence of the clot.
• The Athletics released LHP Brian Fuentes, a little more than a week after the team designated him for assignment.