Feb 26, 2013, 6:08 PM EDT
USA Today Sports Images file photo
Ryan Mattheus will be counted on to get left-handed hitters out this year.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Since arriving in the Nationals bullpen during the 2011 season, Ryan Mattheus has proven effective thanks primarily to his ability to throw sinkers down and in to right-handed hitters (down and away to lefties). It’s a formula that’s worked well for Mattheus, who in 101 career appearances owns a 2.84 ERA and only 7.6 hits allowed per nine innings.
But the 29-year-old understands this is a game of adjustments, and the longer he’s in the big leagues, the more opposing hitters will adjust to his pitching patterns.
So Mattheus is making a point this spring to add something new to his repertoire: A sinker on the other corner of the strike zone.
“I mean, that’s the thing I have to attribute all my success so far in the big leagues to: the good sinker,” he said. “But the more times guys start to see me, they’re going to get onto that pattern. So I’m trying to establish more both sides of the plate this year, because I don’t spin the ball very well [throwing breaking balls]. We tried that coming in last year, that experience is over. I’m going to have to command both sides of the plate with the fastball.”
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- Frandsen released, Gwynn Jr. sent to minors
- Johnson, den Dekker adjust quickly to Nats
- Blevins' awkward 24 hours ends with K of Harper
- Werth crosses big hurdle in shoulder rehab
- Nats face Mets in final Viera game of the spring
- PHOTO: New Mets pitcher faces Nats one day after they traded him
- Rendon seeking 3rd opinion on injured knee
- Mark Zuckerman joins STL to talk about Nats' injury problems
- Janssen unlikely for opener with shoulder tendinitis
- Knee injury concerns go next level for Anthony Rendon