Chien-Ming Wang was at Legends Field early today to watch video of yesterday’s start with Professor Dave Eiland.
The Cannes Film Festival it was not. But CMW figured out quickly what was wrong.
As he started his delivery, Wang was in a bit of a crouch instead of standing up straight. As he finished, he was swinging his front leg out too far. His changeup was fine but his sinker stayed up in the strike zone and got hammered by the Reds.
“I need to stand straight,” said Wang, who got out of his clubhouse chair and gave me a little tutorial of his proper mechanics. “I was starting wrong.”
Wang slowly went through his delivery the right way and then showed me what he was doing wrong. Basically, his arm was starting lower than it shold have been. So instead of throwing straight down, he was coming in from the side.
“That’s why you have spring training,” Wang said.
Much of what pitchers do is muscle memory as they try to repeat their delivery. That’s one of the reasons spring training lasts as long as it does.
Phil Hughes and Jeff Karstens look so good because they have been throwing off the mound since mid January. Wang, Mike Mussina and the others got started later.
Why don’t they start earlier? Because there are only so many bullets in the gun. Older pitchers learn how much time they need.