Miami Marlins

A secret no more, this Marlin’s new pitch is now drawing notice

Dan Straily, shown here throwing his new two-seam fastball, is sticking with the pitch that has helped turn his season around.
Dan Straily, shown here throwing his new two-seam fastball, is sticking with the pitch that has helped turn his season around. Getty Images

The secret’s out.

“Look,” said Marlins pitcher Dan Straily as he punched a few keys on his smartphone and called up a website -- BrooksBaseball -- that tracks and identifies every pitch thrown in the majors.

Straily pointed to the data collected by Brooks from his 96-pitch outing Friday against the Rays. It showed that he threw 34 four-seam fastballs, 25 sliders, 24 change-ups and 13 sinkers.

“It’s the first time all season they picked up on the sinker,” Straily said.

Sure enough, the sinker column for each of Straily’s 14 other starts this season contained only zeroes. In truth, though, Straily began throwing a sinking, two-seam fastball in Arizona on June 25 -- five starts ago.

And he said the new pitch has helped turn his season around.

“I would definitely correlate that pitch to it,” said Straily, who picked up the win in the Marlins’ 6-5 victory over the Rays on Friday.

In the five outings since adopting the new pitch, Straily has gone 2-1 with a 2.78 ERA and given up only two home runs, none over his past three starts.

“Maybe adding that pitch will give me two more outs a game, maybe it will give me one out a game,” Straily said.

This much is certain: Straily knew he had to do something when things weren’t going well for him earlier in the season. When the Marlins got to St. Louis in early June, Straily plunked down $3,000 for a Rapsodo, a mobile pitch tracking device.

He used it during his bullpen sessions between starts to help pinpoint the velocity and movement on each of his pitches. He studied the data, searching for solutions.

“I kind of said enough’s enough because the season was not going the way I wanted it to go,” Straily said. “I was getting frustrated and more frustrated. I have to fix things.”

With the help of the Rapsodo, Straily has done exactly that.

“The reason I even tried (the two-seam) was because the rise on my four-seam fastball was down about an inch-and-a-half,” Straily said. “So I was like, well if that means I’m down a inch-and-a-half on that, I’m doing something finger-pressure wise. So maybe the two-seamer will be back in play.”

Straily had thrown a two-seam fastball throughout his career before abandoning it altogether in 2016 with Cincinnati because the pitch was no longer working. But Straily rolled it out again against the Diamondbacks after giving up three runs in the first two innings.

“I gave up like two runs in the first inning and I was like (the heck with) this,” Straily said. “I had no clue where my fastball was going, so I just started throwing two-seamers.”

Straily didn’t allow another run and only one hit the rest of the Arizona game. He’s continued using the pitch with ever-increasing frequency.

“It’s not really like a true sinker, and I really don’t know what to call it,” Straily said. “It’s sinking compared to my four-seam, yes. But it’s not sinking like (Jose) Urena’s ball sinks. It’s not like sinking like (Pablo) Lopez’s ball sinks.”

For now, Straily intends to stick to the pitch with no name.

“You never know,” Straily said. “I might throw it the rest of the season, or the rest of my career. Or maybe I throw it two more starts. I don’t know. I’m going to use it until it doesn’t work.”

_________

Sandy Alcantara will make his first rehab start Monday with Single A Jupiter, the Hammerheads announced Saturday. Alcantara was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier this month with an armpit infection.

Manager Don Mattingly said Alcantara would likely require two or three minor-league rehab starts to build up arm strength before rejoining the rotation for the Marlins.

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