Why Are Archer & Rodriguez Struggling So Much?

AT&T SportsNet's Michael McKenry with some thoughts

The Fan Morning Show
May 17, 2019 - 12:11 pm
Richard Rodriguez

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan)- Chris Archer returned from the IL only to get clobbered Wednesday in Arizona, giving up six earned runs in just 3.2 innings.

Richard Rodriguez took the mound with a one-run lead Thursday night in San Diego and gave up a three run homer to Ian Kinsler to balloon his season ERA to 5.49. He maintained a 2.47 ERA over 63 appearances in 2018. 

So, what is going on here? 

AT&T SportsNet analyst and former MLB catcher Michael McKenry joined The Fan Morning Show Friday to try to explain.

First with Rodriguez. 

Related: Kinsler's 3-run homer lifts Padres to 4-3 win vs Pirates

"The easiest way to put it is, he is just not making pitches when he needs to make pitches," said McKenry. "Last night, 1-2, breaking ball right down the middle. Ian Kinsler, he's a foot-down-early guy, most foot-down-early guys really pick up spin well. When you put your foot down early, you're locked into the spot you don't have adjustability. But. since they get everything done, they're really good at just absorbing into their legs and adjusting to breaking balls and that's what Ian Kinsler did. That guy probably has 150 or more homers on a hanging breaking ball. A 1-2 pitch to a veteran guy like that, you just can't make it." 

"You see a lot of good signs with Richard Rodriguez with his fastball. He's getting that miss-hit again, he got some swing and misses lately on his breaking ball that went below the zone and that's what made him really, really good last year. But he's got to be able to tunnel that pitch or sequence those two pitches together where it does have that deception. If not, he's just speeding up that bat and it allows guys like Ian Kinsler to hit the ball almost on the roof in San Diego." 

Now, Chris Archer.

"You know, his last start, he was throwing a changeup that was actually incredible. It was just dropping off the table but he couldn't throw it for strikes," said McKenry. "It was almost like [Clay] Holmes' fastball. Holmes walks a lot of guys because his fastball moves so much. Archer had this changeup that was about 89-91 [mph] and it was just falling straight down and going into the right-handed hitter, away from a lefty. If he could have thrown it for strikes I think the outcome of his last game would have been completely different. I think that's what he worked on during his time on the IL during the 10 days once he could throw with his thumb." 

"If he can get that pitch going, especially with that fastball because he has that late life on his fastball, he already has one of the best sliders in the game, I think it's going to make him a lot better." 

"But yeah, when he first came here being a two-pitch guy, he can pitch with two pitches but he has to be able to put it at least on one side of the plate consistently. When he's getting erratic and he's not repeating his delivery, it just makes it that much harder because it's not so much the pitches that the guys are looking for. If you have a fastball-slider guy, you don't have to think about adjusting. That fastball-slider is so close in speed, the only thing you have to worry about is the depth on that slider."

"If you just stay on that fastball, you can adjust to sliders. What makes them so good is, they take off at the last second and that's why you swing at it because it looks just like a fastball. But, if it hangs or it's not located right, it's an easy pitch to just absolutely annihilate. That's what happened the other day. He was missing in a very big manner."            

You can listen to the entire insightful interview with AT&T SportsNet's Michael McKenry on The Fan Morning Show below.            


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