Brian Bannister made his final spring training start against the Brewers yesterday. He went five innings, allowed six hits, including a solo home run, struck out four, and walked none.
Here are some of his comments about his start:
“I kept the ball down today, mixed all my pitches in. It was just a good quality outing. That’s exactly the kind of momentum I want to build going into the season.”…”I really did want to sharpen my pitches with two strikes and work on missing some more bats to counteract the more hits I’m going to give up,” said Bannister, who is known to be a contact pitcher.” “And I want to walk fewer guys. That’s kind of my formula right now. It’s my game plan, and I’m going into the season with it.”
From the PITCHf/x data, Bannister threw 31 fastballs, 22 sliders, three change-ups, and 15 curveballs (three of which were of the soft variety). It’s interesting to see that he’s keeping both speeds of curveball in his repertoire for 2008. His four strikeouts came on a slider that Mike Cameron swung at and missed, a foul tip on a fastball to Corey Hart, a slider that Corey Hart swung at and missed, and a slider (again) that Mike Cameron swung at and missed. The home run was on a fastball to J.J. Hardy that was up and over the middle of the plate.
Bannister threw a lot of first-pitch fastballs, as well as at 0-1 and 1-1 counts–24 fastballs and 17 off-speed pitches. But in other counts he didn’t throw the fastball much at all–seven fastballs and 23 off-speed pitches. That lines up well with what he said in this chat with fans on MLB.com: “Big league hitters have better strike-zone discipline, and I am working on refining my secondary pitches so that they are more effective in different counts, depending on what I’m trying to accomplish.”