Means flashes mat­tress-fu­eled ve­loc­ity in­crease

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Nathan Ruiz

Ori­oles All-Star left-han­der John Means cred­its the tan­ta­liz­ing in­crease in ve­loc­ity he dis­played in his 2020 de­but Thurs­day to throw­ing into a mat­tress in his garage through­out the lengthy quar­an­tine the coron­avirus pan­demic re­quired.

“I had a lot of time to my­self,” Means said. “Some­times it’s bet­ter off with that sort of catch play be­cause you’re not re­ally wor­ried about where it’s go­ing. [You’re] just fo­cus­ing in on your mo­tion and how your body feels.”

Means said he used the quar­an­tine­mat­tress ses­sions to work on keep­ing his front side closed more, al­low­ing him to bet­ter stay on plane to­ward home plate.

In Thurs­day’s start against the New York Yan­kees, Means’ fast­ball av­er­aged 95.2 mph, a large spike from 2019’s 91.7 mph, per Stat­cast. His av­er­age changeup ve­loc­ity was also higher, at 84.1 mph com­pared to 80.9 mph last year.

Un­for­tu­nately for Means, the Yan­kees couldn’t of­fer the same spring-loaded com­fort, tag­ging him for five runs in the first in­ning en route to the short­est start of his young ma­jor-league ca­reer in what be­came an 8-6 Ori­oles loss at Cam­den Yards.

But there were plenty of pos­i­tive take­aways for Means in the out­ing. He gen­er­ated nine swing­ing strikes among his 51 pitches; at 17.6%, that was the third-high­est rate of any start of his ca­reer.

His first pitch of the night was tracked by Stat­cast to be 94.7 mph, match­ing his high­est ve­loc­ity from 2019. He topped that mark 13 times in the first in­ning alone, touch­ing 96 mph six times.

“I probably made one bad pitch, and that was the home run,” Means said. “But other than that, I thought my stuff was good.”

Means was ini­tially an­nounced as the Ori­oles’ Open­ing Day starter, but he in­stead be­gan the year on the in­jured list with a bout of arm fa­tigue.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.