I'm concerned too!! I've watched 3 of his starts, (one was his 3 inning game last week), and his velocity looked fine to me. I think his curveball isn't biting as much as it needs to. I'm not sure why, or if that is the reason he isn't striking guys out. I know he even said he was a little concerned about it!! I know some "experts" are saying he's hiding an injury, but who knows.
Here's a quote from the other Ben Sheets thread which I agree with.
His fast ball was in the mid to high 90's today with multiple 97 MPH's. He just isn't throwing his curve for strikes and since he's a 3 pitch guy and the change up is by far his weakest pitch it means when the curve is off he is off.
Once he starts to get better command of his pitches, the strikeouts will come.
Another thing I've noticed in the 3 games I've seen him pitch in this year, is he's been behind in the count a lot. His command has been off, at least in those games. A lot of 3-2 counts it seems. I am glad he's back and pitching though!!
Old_Style wrote:He's pitched 30 innings so far this year. I'm pretty sure his K/9 ratio will get a little better by the end of the year.
That kind of seems like a lazy assessment to me. If anything, his strong career K/9 (particularly in the last 3 seasons) indicates that this is abnormal--he has had enough starts and accumulated enough innings that this looks a lot more like a trend than an anomaly.
The thing that really stands out is the fact that in 17 starts last year, he struck out 5 or more batters 15 times. And in starts where he went at least 5 innings, he was 15/15 in getting at least 5 outs via the K. In 9 of those 15 starts, he got at least 7 (and hit double digits three times). In six starts so far this year, he hasn't struck out 5 in a game once. Six starts is a fairly small sample, but it's not that small. We're talking 0 for 6 in 2007 vs. 15 for 15 in 2006. That's a trend in my books.
Of his 6 starts, 5 were against division rivals in STL, CHC and HOU with his last start only lasting 3 innings in terrible weather. Historically he hasn't dominated them and STL actually hits very well against him.
I'm not looking for excuses rather trying to figure out if there is a problem. He wasn't sharp last night and left balls up a lot but the velocity was there. Outside of his bad start against STL, he has a 14/3 K/BB ratio in 31 IP.
"Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that." ~George Carlin
In a post game interview yesterday, Sheets had mentioned something about making a mechanical adjustment after the 3rd. From the 4th through 6th, he gave up 1 single (to Pujols of course) and no walks and generally looked like he had the curve working.
Ender wrote:In a post game interview yesterday, Sheets had mentioned something about making a mechanical adjustment after the 3rd. From the 4th through 6th, he gave up 1 single (to Pujols of course) and no walks and generally looked like he had the curve working.
That sounds encouraging. Let's hope he can get it going!!