Why Does Pirates Brad Lincoln Hate His Changeup?


We aren’t going to drag this out, Pittsburgh Pirates fans:  we know that you’re an educated reader if you are coming to this site.   (If only we were, right?)

Brad Lincoln had very little command of his pitches last night.    Bob Walk talked about it on 93.7 The Fan this morning.  ‘I don’t think it was the number of pitches he has, it was what he was doing with those pitches,’ Walk said.

He’s right.

So, if the curveball and fastball were left in the ‘hot zone,’ as Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle said after the game, why wouldn’t Lincoln go to some of his other pitches?  Is he working on pitching a heater and a curveball exclusively this season?

Maybe it’s that he doesn’t trust his changeup?  We’ve heard that comment when talking with some Bucs executives in the past.  We always trusted that the changeup was coming into shape for Lincoln, but he simply wasn’t trusting it.

But let’s not get confused as some people did on twitter.  It’s not like he hasn’t relied on the changeup in the past:

Look back at September 12 last season – the Bucs got a 6-5 victory.  Guess what pitch he threw most after his fastball?   You guessed it the changeup.

The outing wasn’t perfect.  He allowed eight hits in 5.1 innings.  But he gave the team a chance to win by getting three whiffs and six sniffs on his changeup which he threw 17 times.  Ten of the 17 were strikes!  Lincoln also mixed in 16 curveballs.

Look back at September 24 last season –  the Bucs grabbed a  5-1 victory over the Reds in that game as well.  Lincoln mixed in nine changeups in that game.

Again, the outing wasn’t perfect as Lincoln walked four, but he also struckout four and gave up just two runs.  He fired nine changeups.  Eight were strikes getting six whiffs along the way.

If Brad Lincoln is going to have success as a starter, he must throw a variety of pitches with good location.  We all know that fact.  But we found it ridiculous he got the start and relied on just two pitches for the first place Pirates.

It’s obvious to us that Lincoln doesn’t like throwing his changeup; he’s only thrown a handful of them this season–about 2%.  We get why–he loves his curveball.  But why – when the Bucs brass knows all of these facts about Lincoln – would he be allowed to make starts for the club?   We trust Lincoln can figure it out, but we all realize that he shouldn’t be doing it in the starting rotation.

He’s 26.  His future will be earning a position as a bullpen guy.