A couple years ago, Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright was working to change the pace of his delivery to throw off the timing of baserunners. He found, like other pitchers have, that it did the same to the hitter. That got him thinking that maybe the sequence of his pitches wasn’t the only thing he could change to unnerve opponents. “I’m doing it in different ways now,” Wainwright said. “I may pause, go a little slower, get a little quick. I may go with my hands above my head, or not. I’ll move left to right (on the rubber). I think there is more to pitching that just throwing the ball.” Wainwright threw several different looks at the Cincinnati Reds during his seven innings Friday night in the Cardinals’ victory. Wainwright brought his hands above his head to start his delivery in the middle innings and kept his hands at his belt later in the game. He added a pause at times and even made some gestures with his glove as if to tip pitches. He threw curveballs at 73 mph and 74 mph and mixed in a few 60-mph curves. He has become so comfortable with his basic delivery that he’s adding wrinkles. “You’re in a pretty good spot when you’re standing out there and you feel comfortable enough to start doing those things,” Cardinals pitching coach Derek Lilliquist said. Changing the pace of the delivery is nothing new. Shelby Miller does it often during his starts. Opposing pitchers will try to quick-pitch several Cardinals hitters who have timing movements like a leg kick or hand pump. What Wainwright has added is unusual. He breaks from habits other starters cling to. For example, he’ll move from the third base to the first base side of the rubber for different hitters. The key Wainwright said is for him to get to the same place with his hands, no matter what he does to start his delivery or what he throws out of it. As long as his hands break near his belt he’s in the ideal position to pitch. And the different things he does — pause, quick-pitch, slow curve — mean he has something new for the third and fourth time through the order.
Wainwright mixing up delivery
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Jun 9