During Wednesday’s start against the Rays, Clay Buchholz began toying around with a new pitch in his arsenal: a splitter. Buchholz used it on an 0-2 pitch against the left-handed hitting Elliot Johnson, leading off the fifth inning.
Below is the spin chart from Buchholz’s most recent start, with his typical offerings—four-seam fastball: brown, two-seam fastball: grey, cutter: red, change-up: blue, curve: orange—as well as the new splitter, marked in purple.
Buchholz started using the splitter when he couldn’t get a feel for his change-up and used the pitcher’s count/bases empty situation to try it. You may have noticed on the spin chart another outlier (with a bit more velocity) that looks like another possible splitter, but apparently Buchholz threwonly the one splitter in that at-bat to Johnson (the other pitch was likely a slow sinker).
Big thanks to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal for answering my questions on Twitter and confirming my suspicions that Buchholz was throwing a split.