Hi all. I figured that it would be interesting to do a live blog of Vance Worley’s start today, his first MLB start. We got a very brief glimpse of Worley a while back, as he pitched 1 inning in relief, but we’ll get a chance to see more of what he can do today in his first big league start. Worley has been solid this season at AA/AAA, logging 158 IP with a 3.36 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. His 6.78 K/9 isn’t eye opening, but its passable, and he’s limited his walks, with a solid 2.62 BB/9 rate. Check below the fold to find out what I’ll be watching for.
There are a few things I always look for when watching any starting pitcher.
* Command. Is the pitcher able to throw the ball where the catcher puts the glove? Velocity is great, its important, but hitting spots is more important.
* Velocity. Its important. The adrenaline will no doubt by pumping, so it will be interesting to see where he comes out throwing, and then where he settles in velocity wise.
* Delivery. Is his delivery under control? Is his release point consistent with all of his pitches? Does he throw across his body or cause any additional stress with his landing/follow through?
I’ll update this post as the game progresses, use the comments to discuss! Im using Gameday for all velocity readings, I don’t trust the TV gun
1:05 PM – Its go time. Logan Morrison is a guy he has to be careful with, though the Marlins big power all comes from the right side, and Worley has been better against RHB in his career.
First Inning – Fastball is 88-91. His two decent sliders came in at 82, he overthrew one at 84 in the dirt for a wild pitch. He strikes out Hanley Ramirez on a high fastball at 90. He seems to create some deception in his delivery. He started Uggla off with a curveball, which has a more pronounced 11-5 break than his slider, but still came in at 82 mph. Worley gets squeezed on a fastball on a 1-1 count that looked a strike, and then Uggla rips an 84 mph slider into LF. He then saws off Gaby Sanchez with an 88 mph fastball in on the hands.
So 88-91 with his fastball. His sliders with sharper bite have been 82, he’s overthrown 2 of them at 84, one of them hanging that Uggla ripped for a base hit. His release point looks consistent, but he’s not getting the high strike early, which could be problematic. Only 1 curveball so far.
Second Inning - An 89 mph fastball down the middle, and Chad Tracy pummels it. Less than optimal location. He breaks out the slow curve to Stanton at 75 mph and throws it for a strike, then shatters Stanton’s bat with a 90 mph fastball in on his hands. Good location on an 83 mph slider to get Davis to bounce back to the mound. He gets the pitcher to weakly ground out on another curveball, this one firmer at 79 mph.
So, two mistakes thus far, the hanging slider to Uggla and the fat fastball to Tracy, but he settled down after the HR and had a quick inning. When you don’t have elite stuff, commanding your fastball down in the zone is crucial.
Third Inning – Nice sequence to Bonerface, getting him with a 92 mph fastball on the inside corner which gameday called a “cutter”. His fastball now appears to be ticking up slightly, as he’s more 91-92. His first changeup at 85 misses low. He doubles up with a changeup and takes one off the leg. He starts Hanley with a slider outside at 84 mph. Another slider lined into LF for Hanley. Not terrible location outside, but too far up in the zone. He’s throwing a lot more offspeed stuff the 2nd time through the order it would seem. He gets Uggla to hit one off the end of the bat on a looping curveball inside. Dangerous pitch, but Uggla was fooled. Now getting squeezed a bit at the bottom of the zone, but gets a called strike on a nice tight slider at 81 mph. Puts a high fastball with a bit more movement past Sanchez to get the strikeout.
Its interesting that he’s getting squeezed low in the zone, as someone without overpowering velocity, that’s where he has to pitch to be successful. He’s at 51 pitches already, but did a nice job limiting the damage so far. His command has been average.
Fourth Inning – Worley now throwing more curves, which is promising. He gets Tracy to waive through a 90 mph fastball well out of the zone high. Gotta think the ball is tougher to pick up out of his hand. Stanton turns on an inside fastball and this time pulls it into LF for a hit. Davis lines a hanging curve into LF for a hit. Worley’s command not sharp this inning. He gets Bonifacio to ground out sharply on the first pitch, a curveball, to avoid damage.
64 pitches through 4, 42 strikes and 22 balls. A good ratio, but his command hasn’t been sharp
Fifth Inning – Third time through the order, should be interesting to see how his approach changes. He gets Morrison to fly out on the first pitch, a 91 mph fastball. He gets ahead of Hanley 0-2, then just misses with a 93 mph fastball on the outside corner. Gameday says that pitch was on the black, a borderline call. He comes back at 2-2 and hits the same spot, this time Ramirez foul tips it into the glove for a strikeout. He continues to not get the borderline low strike, which isn’t surprising for a rookie. He hits 94 mph on a fastball to Uggla, but misses high and away. He comes back to get him with a slider, though it was a bit of a hanger. First 1-2-3 of the day.
76 pitches through 5, 49 strikes and 27 balls. He seems to have settled down a bit and he’s commanding the ball a bit better, not missing out over the plate.
And that’s it for Worley. Overall impressions were mildly positive. He made 2 mistakes and gave up 2 runs because of it. His fastball was just average or a tick below today, and his curve was solid. His slider was a tick below average, as he didn’t really locate it well, and he threw only a few changeups, leaving them up in the zone. All in all, a pretty decent performance.