In honor of the Mets’ Jorge Julio pitching a scoreless 9th inning in last night’s blowout loss to Atlanta, the following are excerpts from “So Much Natural Talent, So Little Ability”, by Tim Marchman and taken from Tuesday’s New York Sun.
Fans at Shea can chant “change your speed” all they want, but Julio’s hard, 82 MPH curveball is a perfectly reasonable secondary pitch, and he’s willing to throw it at various points in the count. His problem is a lot more basic : He doesn’t throw strikes early in at-bats, muscles up on the ball attempting to get strikeouts, and throws straight 95 MPH fastballs with no movement over the plate.
We’ve all found ourselves in situations where we were doing doing exactly the thing we knew we shouldn’t be doing, but kept on anyway because we couldn’t help ourselves. People panic, they don’t always control themselves well under stress and sometimes, unbelievably enough, athletes can’t execute what they want to do. Baseball is largely a mental game, but it’s not entirely one. Rest assured that Jorge Julio doesn’t stroll out to the mound with a strategy of throwing a few pitches out of the strike zone and then grooving fat pitches down the heart of the plate. If sacrificing velocity for movement without giving up effectiveness were as easy as it is on Playstation, he and every other pitcher with an arrow-straight heater would do so.