Feb 26, 2013, 6:08 PM EST
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.”
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2013 schedule (subject to change)...
TUE: 12:45 p.m., 4:30 p.m.
WED: 2:30 p.m.
THU: 4:30 p.m.
FRI: 12:45 p.m., 2:30 p.m.
SAT: 9:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com.
- Rizzo: Blevins was Nationals' best option
- Former Nats OF Jerry Hairston, Jr. retires from MLB
- Nats get lefty Blevins from A's for prospect
- Williams wants Davey to come to spring training
- Will Nats make amends for 2013? (VIDEO)
- Williams contemplates look of Nationals' lineup
- MLB to discuss home plate collisions at Winter Meetings
- Wilson, Blevins among Nationals trade targets
- Rizzo: Nats aren't trading Clippard, Storen, Span
- 6 weeks into MLB offseason and free agents are going fast