Wandy Rodriguez has lost the first two starts of the 2014 season to the Chicago Cubs. It’s tough to lose once, but twice is really difficult. Another thing Rodriguez has lost is some velocity on his fastball, but the vertical movement looks like it on the way back.
Rodriguez has always had a secret weapon throughout his career: the elusive, mythical rising fastball. It’s a pitch that Wandy throws with a significant amout of vertical spin which makes the ball look like it is rising as it gets closer to the batter. The pitch can have as much as eight to twelve inches of vertical spin. (Nearly 13 back in 2007!)
Here is Wandy’s riser in action. At the beginning of last season, the pitch reached over 12.5 inches of vertical. Before his injury it was down to around 8 inches. Since he has been back this year, it’s back around 11 inches.
The left hander has seen his strikeouts fall as he career has progressed, but in two starts against the Cubbies this season, Rodriguez has recorded eleven strikeouts in his eleven innings. (He has also given up some absolute rockets among the 14 hits, nine of them last night.)
The challenge last night was anything rising was going to go for a ride in the Wrigley wind. Wandy allowed three walks,two home runs, baserunner(s) in every inning and was pulled after five innings. The big hurt was when Rizzo dropped an opposite field single in front of a Pirates optimal defended outfield, and instead of being out of the inning, it set up disaster for Wander-ful.
So Wandy is off to a rough start. One bad pitch to Junior Lake last night, a couple well placed singles, but all in all this is what the numbers look like in his two starts against the Cubs–fourteen hits, three home runs, four walks, seven earned runs and hence Wandy is 0-2.
The more concerning thing for us is will Wandy’s rising fastball be enough to keep missing bats if his velocity is going to be reducing as the season moves along? Are you buying or selling on Wandy?
Be sure to go check out some GIFS of Wandy at PitcherGIFs.com