Red Sox

Red Sox

Part of Drew Pomeranz’s emergence with the Padres was owed to the addition of a cutter, a pitch he learned playing catch with a former minor league catcher, Travis Higgs, in the 2015-16 winter.
 
Like last year, Pomeranz’s plan to wait to bust out the pitch in earnest.
 
“Yeah, probably at this point,” Pomeranz said when asked recently if he was throwing the pitch less than last year. “I didn’t throw a lot at the beginning of last year either. Kind of, it came with facing guys more times and needing it. Use it when I feel like using it.”
 
The lefty is to start Tuesday night for the Red Sox on the road in Milwaukee. His 11.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 27 innings thus far is well above the rate he posted last season, 9.8. He’s been a solid piece in the Red Sox rotation, with efficiency that can be improved.
 
Pomeranz still makes a living on his curveball, first and foremost.
 
This year, roughly 30 percent of Pomeranz hooks that opponents swung at produced whiffs, per BrooksBaseball.net. The cutter can be a hard pitch to touch too, when he’s actually throwing it. The whiff rate on swings at the cutter last year was about 25 percent.
 
But he’s thrown 10 cutters in 2017, if Brooks Baseball's count is right.
 
“I mean, I haven’t written it off, I just haven’t started throwing it a lot yet,” Pomeranz said. “I have started throwing it in moments. It’d definitely in my back pocket all the time. If I’m reading the game or they’re not hitting something else like the curveball… I’m not going to start throwing that.”
 
Per Brooks Baseball, Pomeranz threw the cutter roughly 4 percent of the time in April 2016 and 8 percent in May. Usage jumped to 20 percent in June. In July, when he was traded to the Red Sox mid-month, the cutter was at 17 percent.
 
As for the curveball? Pomeranz used the pitch more in April and May this year than he has in any other months in his career: about 44 percent.
 
He threw it 42 percent of the time in September.
 
Pomeranz began the season on the disabled list. Pomeranz said he did not think the cutter was a pitch that put more stress on his arm, so health doesn’t seem to be a factor in his pitch selection.