Takahashi changing things up
For left-handed pitchers, the scouting report on nearly every left-handed power hitter is that they are susceptible to breaking balls. High up on the “What Not To Do” list is throw a changeup.
Yet Hisanori Takahashi did not heed that advice Wednesday against the Phillies, whiffing Ryan Howard in the sixth inning on a dandy of a changeup, the pitch breaking down and in toward Howard. Indeed, Takahashi challenged Philadelphia’s left-handed hitters with changeups all night, shunning conventional wisdom every step of the way.
“I’m the type of guy who likes to pitch to my pitcher’s strength, and not necessarily the hitter’s weakness,” catcher Rod Barajas said. “And his strength is a changeup.”
Barajas, a right-handed hitter, recalled facing Takahashi in an intrasquad game this spring and expecting him to throw two consecutive changeups.
“He threw them, and I swung and missed at both of them,” Barajas said. “That’s what he does. He does that well. It’s not the norm to see a lefty-lefty changeup. But when you have a guy who’s got such a good changeup and that’s his money pitch, you’re not going to put it on the back burner and forget about it.”
—–Follow along on Twitter @anthonydicomo.