Wandy Rodriguez’s big change: more grounders

Wandy Rodriguez had another great start last night against the Reds — 7 IP, no homers, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts. That’s 32 innings without a home run for him.

Rodriguez has been primed to take a huge leap forward for a while now, with improving peripheral numbers every year obscured by his injury last year. The big difference I see in his stats is that he’s getting many more ground balls. His groundout-to-air out ratio is 1.87. Last year, it was less than 1.

Here’s better information from Fangraphs. Rodriguez line-drive percentage is 15, the lowest of his career. His infield fly-ball percentage is 13.3, also the highest of his career. He is also throwing even more curveballs than before, and now he throws only three pitches — fastball, curveball, changeup. The curves I’ve seen look nasty, too, combining a big loop and a bite down. He’s throwing more first-pitch strikes.

So, keep it in the park, don’t walk anyone, strike out some guys, and when they do hit it make sure they put it on the ground. You can win a lot of games that way.

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