Moylan working on change with Garber
Before traveling back to his Pennsylvania farm, Gene Garber had the opportunity to watch Peter Moylan unleash a healthy dose of changeups during the scoreless inning he completed against the Mets on Wednesday afternoon.
During his 19-season big league career, Garber made a habit out of baffling opposing hitters with the changeup he was able to throw with his sidearm delivery. As Bobby Cox remembers, this was the pitch the old sidewinder used to end Pete Rose’s 44-game hitting streak in 1978.
“He had one of the best changeups in the game and that’s a pitch that I’m missing,” Moylan said. “Any kind of advice he can give me with different grips and different releases is great.”
As a former reliever who utilized the same sinker-slider repertoire as Moylan, Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell has helped the Australian reliever with his mental approach and also been able to aid him with the mechanics of his delivery.
But with traditional throwing motion, McDowell doesn’t the experiences that Garber has utilized the past two years in his attempt to help Moylan develop this changeup that he plans to utilize in an attempt to improve his success against left-handers.
Last year Moylan limited right-handed hitters to a .211 batting average and .271 on-base percentage. Left-handers batted .309 and produced a .436 OBP against him.
With this in mind, Cox was pleased that Moylan was able to face four left-handed hitters (including the switch-hitting Angel Pagan) on Wednesdy.
“He threw some dandies,” Cox said, referring obviously to the changeups.
Should it surprise you that Cox once again sent praise in the direction of Jason Heyward during Wednesday’s postgame session? The 20-year-old showed good range going back and coming forward on two fly balls during the first inning. Then after slipping in the outfield grass the next inning, he kept his poise and snared a Fernando Tatis flyball while still on the ground.
“He’s getting great jumps,” Cox said. “It’s the little fundamental things that we’ve talked about. Instinctively, at 20-years-old, he’s way ahead of the game.”
Cox also had nothing but good things to say about Mike Minor, who worked a perfect eighth, and Jeff Lyman, a 22-year-old right-hander who recorded a pair of strikeouts in a perfect ninth.
“The two young kids, Minor and Lyman, pretty darn impressive,” Cox said. “Really impressive. I was impressed so much with Minor and then here comes Lyman and he did just as well. Those are two really good looking kids.”
Kenshin Kawakami will be making his Grapefruit League season debut on Thursday afternoon against the Pirates. He’ll be opposed by our old friend Charlie Morton, who was traded to Pittsburgh last year in the deal that brought Nate McLouth to Atlanta.
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