Friday- Brandon McCarthy vs. Dan Straily
Dan Straily is taking the ball against the Braves in his third start of the year for the Marlins. In his first two starts after returning for forearm inflammation, Straily did not impress.
His ERA is currently sitting at 6.75 and he has allowed eight walks to only three strikeouts. So far, Straily’s lack of ability to find the strike zone has resulted in a high amount of fastballs from the right-hander.
In 2017, Straily threw 50.5% fastballs and through two starts in 2018, he is throwing his fastball 60% of the time.
It is very common for a pitcher struggling with his command to rely on his fastball. While the fastball is the easiest pitch for a pitcher to control, it is also the easiest pitch for a hitter to hit, and Straily’s fastball has been hit hard through two starts.
The average exit velocity on a Straily fastball is 91.71 MPH compared to 89.05 MPH league average exit velocity on fastballs.
The biggest key for Straily to find success in 2018 is being able to find the zone on a consistent basis. Throughout his career, Straily has always been below average when it comes to his walk rates, but his first two starts in 2018 have been concerning.
Pounding the strike zone and showing the ability to locate will also give Straily and the coaching staff the confidence to mix up his pitches. The more Straily mixes his pitches, hitters will have to stop sitting on the fastball which will help bring his exit velocity back down to Earth.
The Marlins opposition on Friday night will be the 13-year veteran, Brandon McCarthy. McCarthy came over to the Braves this offseason in the massive salary swap that sent Matt Kemp back to Los Angeles.
McCarthy is 4-1 with a 4.84 ERA on the season. He is also the only starting pitcher above the age of 26 that the Marlins will be facing this series.