Athletics

Athletics

OAKLAND -- Chris Bassitt's most recent start in Seattle did not quite go as planned. The Mariners knocked the 30-year-old around for six runs on seven hits, including a pair of home runs, in just 4 1/3 innings.

Following that outing, Bassitt was approached by a couple of his fellow starting pitchers, Brett Anderson and Mike Fiers. The two veterans had a clear message for the right-hander.

"B.A. and Fiers kind of pulled me aside after that game and said, 'Listen, you've got to make a change," Bassitt recalled.

The advice was simple. Anderson and Fiers wanted Bassitt to start throwing his curveball and especially his changeup more frequently, rather than relying on just his fastball and cutter.

"I haven't really ever thrown changeups in games," Bassitt admitted. "Two or three changeups is not throwing a pitch in the grand scheme of things. I think I threw probably 13 or 14 or 15 today. So that's a realistic approach of putting a pitch in hitters' heads. I haven't done that truly all of my career."

Bassitt officially threw 13 changeups in Saturday's 13-2 win over the Chicago White Sox. He also mixed in 16 curveballs. Those 29 pitches helped Bassitt toss six shutout innings, allowing just four hits and two walks with six strikeouts.

"I threw probably more changeups today than I did all year combined," Bassitt said. "Seattle kind of exposed me a little bit when it comes to sitting in one little speed gap with the cutter and fastball. I made an adjustment from there."

 

Bassitt insisted that he has always had great belief in his offspeed pitches. It's just that he never really had to use them, until now.

"I think I'm at a point in my career where teams have seen me enough and can gameplan the way Seattle did," he said. "They exposed me. I had two pitches that game (fastball and cutter). Add the changeup in there and it makes life for a hitter on the other side a whole heck of a lot harder. I couldn't throw my curveball for a strike (against Seattle) and I was basically sitting in one speed."

Based on his own analysis, it certainly seems like Bassitt knew he had to make an adjustment. But hearing it from his two veteran teammates really drove the point home.

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"It's huge," he said. "Those two guys (Anderson and Fiers) obviously have had great careers and are still having great careers. When they tell you something, you have to take it to heart just because they've been there, done that, seen it. And not only that, they're really good at what they do."

Bassitt improved to 6-4 on the season, lowering his ERA to 3.98. If he can truly develop into a four-pitch starter, those numbers should only improve as the year goes on.