Joe Janish makes a good point

Jon Niese threw 99 pitches, but only 10 were curveballs — supposedly his signature “out” pitch and what many feel is his best weapon. Though, from what we understand, the thin air in Colorado destroys the vertical break of even the best curves. I liked what I saw from Niese’s ability to handle himself in the postgame interviews, and believe he is mentally and emotionally prepared to pitch in New York. Unfortunately, he appears to be extremely vulnerable without the deuce. But, it’s likely the last time in 2010 he pitches at a mile-high altitude, so he should get back to being the MLB-average pitcher the Mets need him to be. I’m not concerned in the least.

- Joe Janish, Mets Today.

That seems about right. I forgot all about that factor while watching Niese pitch last night, though, and I kept wondering what happened to his reliable Uncle Charlie.

Indeed, according to ESPN New York, Niese told reporters after the game, “I really didn’t have a feel for my curveball. I tried to throw it for a first-pitch strike and I just really couldn’t get it there. … It’s tough to get a good curveball going here. I left a lot of curveballs hanging in the bullpen when I really wanted to bounce it. To Barmes, I left that hanging and he hit it.”

Mystery solved, then. And that should, as Janish suggests, quiet immediate concerns about Niese. If you’ve got doubts about the effects of altitude on curveball specialists, check out the late Darryl Kile’s career in Colorado, juxtaposed with his seasons immediately before and after.

5 thoughts on “Joe Janish makes a good point

    • Well its a bit different for a home team pitcher. Neise has never picthed there or experienced it before. As is the case with anything of this nature, if you spend alot of time in a certain envirnment you adapt.

      I would fully expect that a picther like Cook, who has picther for the Rockies since 2002, would have alot better idea of how to throw his curve, and adapt it in the thin air since hes been doing it for the last 8 seasons.

  1. True, Cook seemed to have his curve working fine, and he’s not even known for his curve. I think Barmes’ double scared Niese away from throwing it much after that. The real problem was that Niese also didn’t have much on his fastball or his cutter. Very underwhelming stuff. Hopefully, it was just one bad night.

  2. Its all worth noting that the first time Neise threw a big curve, to the first batter of the game, the guy stuck his arm over half the plate and got plunked. Of course the Ump awarded the batter firstbase but that could have shaken Neise to an extent.

    • Yeah why was this not argued AT ALL by Manuel? The replay clearly showed that the batters elbow moved down and towards to plate and no base should have been awarded. I don’t want to say this could have ruined Niese’s whole night (he’s no Oliver) but it’s a piss poor way to start the game when you throw a good pitch and the batter purposely leans into it.

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