Drabek's first start against the Red Sox was an intriguing one. Only righties were able to snag hits off him (Youkilis, Pedroia, Ross) and only lefties managed walks (Ortiz, Sweeney, Ellsbury.) Drabek finished up with a WHIP of 1.125, but the K:BB ratio of 1.33 wasn't exactly...ideal. With that said, Boston's fairly patient and Drabek showed some serious improvements.
First, he felt comfortable going to his change-up against lefties. He had pretty solid command and control over the pitch, and really only made one blunder. Against Boston's big lefties, I incorrectly assumed that Drabek would go cutter-heavy. Brooks Baseball listed two pitches as cutters, but you could probably argue for a handful more after viewing the pfx data. Drabek's change-up looked decidedly major-league level. There was added sink, further velocity separation, and quality arm-side run.
The only real issue Drabek had against the Sox was locating his sinker. The pitch had terrific velocity, sink and arm-side run, but was all over the zone. Drabek went to it about a quarter of the time, but almost 61% of the pitches went for balls. Against lefties, Drabek somehow managed to toss almost 70% of his two-seamers for balls. On the plus side, the Red Sox just couldn't do anything with the pitch when they swung. They'd miss it, foul it, or pound it into the dirt.
Now, for the phrase that you've heard a thousand of times:
Kyle Drabek needs to trust his stuff.
Drabek looks primed for a break-out sometime soon if he can just trust his stuff. He may never be the 8K-per-9 pitcher that everyone expected, but he's got the arsenal to be a very good player.
Baltimore's a righty-heavy squad so Drabek should fair well. Only Markakis, Davis and the switch-hitting Wieters will have the platoon advantage. If Drabek pitches a good game, we could see some solid strike-out numbers. If Drabek tries to get too fancy and makes mistakes, the Orioles certainly have the power in their bats to make him pay.
What I'd Like To See Today:
- Continued control over the change-up.
- Improved control on the sinker.
- Some whiffs on the bender which he only threw five times against the Red Sox
Let's go ahead and peg Drabek for 7IP, 3ER, 6K, 3BB. You'd take that, right?