Here’s a possible piece of the puzzle that is Matt Clement. We all know how well he pitched last year until he got hit in the head with a line drive. Well, it turns out that last year he pretty much stopped throwing his sinker. What about this year? From Dan Shaughnessy’s Boston Globe column of March 14:
The tall, veteran righty made his first appearance of the spring against big league hitters yesterday and threw four shutout innings against the Dodgers in City of Palms Park. He gave up two hits, no walks, and fanned three. He said he liked the way he threw his sinker, a pitch he largely ignored last year.
“That’s as good as I’ve thrown my sinker since my first couple of years with the Cubs,” said Clement. “It’s a pitch I pretty much forgot about, although it got me hit in the head once last year.”
So he was successful without his sinker last year — and when he threw one to Carl Crawford, it nearly got him killed. To my eye, it looks like he’s been throwing the sinker a lot this year. Why?