Lively Iwakuma vs. Flat Iwakuma
Neither one is to be trifled with.


Q.  The fastball LOOKED a lot better today.  How could it be 90.19 MPH against the Angels and also 90.19 MPH against the Twins?  Wedge said he had something extra at the end.

A.  It was the same velocity, but ... sho' nuff, we cue'd up the tape and blamed if it didn't look like he was throwing 2 MPH faster.  With late life.

The F/X doesn't lie... 90.19 and 90.19.  What's going on?   ::taps chin::


There it is.  The RPM is higher against the Angels, and therefore the rise -- the "hop" -- is higher.

And why would the hop be higher?  Iwakuma-san was doing two things:  (1) stepping out in front a few more inches, extending himself, and (2) snapping his wrist better.  I mean, that's a necessary inference, but you could see it.


Q.  And why, in turn, would he be stepping more energetically?  

A.  Let's not overlook Iwakuma's own explanation from the Bakery:


When Iwakuma was at his locker post-game, I asked him -- through interpreter Daisuke Sekiba -- about his command today versus his past couple of outings.

"My fastball was pretty good from the start, as were my balance and command,'' Iwakuma said, through interpreter Daisuke Sekiba. "That's why I was able to do what I did in today's game.''

First of all, that's the first time in my life, and I'm 49 years old, I ever remember a pitcher referring to the quality of his BALANCE.  But does it not stand to reason that if you wanted better command, you would attend to the balance of your center of gravity?!

I got your Johnny Sain coaching legend action right here, pal.

But what SSI takes from that "fastball good from the start" is that on a good day, the pitcher feels some juice in his body, his arm feels fresh, and he's light on his feet.  You guys work out, a lot of youse work out.  You know what it's like when you're overworked and underrested.  Your legs are heavy.  No bounce, no juice.

What's so great here is that Iwakuma uses the freshness in his muscles to attend to his balance - which gives him (1) command and (2) that great arm action on the slider.



Q.  How does he make sure he's always feeling fresh, and giving us an A game?

A.  No pitcher does that.

But it could be that Iwakuma-san is not aware that he needs to step forward an extra four inches.  Thence the pronation, the RPM, the hop on the fastball, and the arm action on the slider.

The intern ought to email down for a 3D video spline on it; they'll see.  Iwakuma-san throws better when a little further out in front.


Q.  Supposing that you COMBINED his A game days and B game days and added up ... let's say ... his OVERALL numbers?  That would be COOL!

A.  Thusly:

G W-L ERA IP H BB K HR K/9 BB/9 HR/9  
11 7-4 2.41 67 55 24 57 7 7.7 3.2 0.9  

In the AL, the Three True Outcomes are similar to those of CJ Wilson, Jon Lester, and Justin Masterson.  Sound like #2's to you?  :- )

But give Iwakuma-san a chance to get rolling.  First seven starts, he gave up homers.  Last four, he gave up none.

Your friend,

Dr D




IcebreakerX's picture

I won't claim anything special, but when I watched the Angels game for a few innings (only watched like 2 innings), I thought Iwakuma would go on a roll.
For some reason, his balance/stability at the top of his motion looked really, really good.
Kuma has that pause when he goes to the plate.
For some reason, I remember his best games always feel good because that pause is very deliberate and not forced at all.
Also, for those taking notes, this is actually like Iwakuma's SECOND or THIRF pitching motion of his career.
The NPB banned two/multi-pause mechanics in something like 2005.
Many, including myself, thought he was done for, but here he is pitching in the Majors.
Don't underestimate his intelligence or pitchability.

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