April 3, 2006

JUST GRIP AND LET HER RIP:

Two-seam fastball could be a boon for M's pitchers (Bob Finnigan, 4/03/06, Seattle Times)

Former Mariner Billy Swift, who had a classic sinker, once boiled it down: "I have no idea how it works; I just grip it and throw it."

Two-seam fastball

The pitch, also known as the sinker, is usually thrown with the forefinger and middle finger somewhat aligned with the two seams of the ball.

The goal is a downward tilt to the pitch, which also generally cuts toward the throwing side of the pitcher — a right-hander moves it into a right-handed batter and away from a left-side batter.

"It's the one pitch you can throw over the plate and you don't have to be perfect," Chaves said. "It's a fastball, yet it moves. What can be better than that? The only concern is to get the ball down."

Another goal is to produce earlier contact, and thus fewer pitches, allowing a pitcher to stay in the game longer.

"We talk about early contact," Chaves said. "But if your early contact goes into the gap it doesn't mean crap. Good early contact means a ground ball."

Four-seam fastball

The grip for the true or straight fastball has the delivery digits cross the two seams, contacting them in four places — thus the moniker of four-seam fastball.

Mariners manager Mike Hargrove is a huge backer of Chaves' campaign.

"The late movement, that's the part that makes it such a tough pitch to get a really good look at and really good swing at," said Hargrove, a solid hitter as a player. "You have to have very sound hitting mechanics to make good contact with a sinker. You can be fooled by a lot of pitches and get a good piece of them, but not the sinker that often."

The sink or dive of a two-seamer properly put down in the strike zone makes for many balls tapped onto the ground. This is especially sought with men on base, for its double-play potential.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 3, 2006 8:21 AM
Comments

A successful Gil Meche two-seamer could be the difference between an entertaining playoff run and another cellar finish for the M's.

Posted by: Timothy at April 3, 2006 1:47 PM
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