Friday, March 6, 2020
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2020
Although the Dodgers lost to the Seattle Mariners on a beautiful Friday night at Camelback Ranch, they received good pitching performances from Ross Stripling and Dennis Santana.
At 23, Santana has impressed everyone this spring. He always knew how to spin the ball effectively with both his curveball and changeup. Whereas most young pitchers throw in high 90s miles-per-hour nowadays, Santana’s fastball has a downward movement and averages 92-95 miles-per-hour.
This spring Santana has learned how to pitch. Most pitchers are throwers, relying on their natural talent to get the opposing hitters out before they pitch professionally. In the Minor Leagues, most pitchers who reach the Major Leagues develop a plan to get the opposition out. They also learned location and movement are more important than velocity. Before this spring, Santana relied on his natural talent instead of thinking how to get out of the opposing hitters. For the first time, the Dominican Republic native is receptive to coaching. He should be in Los Angeles sometime during the regular season.
Although his three-inning performance displeased Stripling, he allowed only a solo home run, the first run that Stripling has permitted. He used his curveball more than he wanted to because his new changeup was not behaving the way Stripling desired. This spring, he has been tinkering around with a new grip for his changeup to make it more effective. Before Friday, it appeared to be working. What impressive about Friday’s performance is Stripling could make adjustments to the Mariners out while keeping the Dodgers in the game.
Since Phoenix has dry air, it is difficult to evaluate the pitchers during spring training. Dry air makes velocity increase while decreasing the break on the breaking pitches. Many pitchers find it challenging to get the proper grip on baseball to control it properly. So far this spring, the Dodgers have received fantastic pitching.
Friday Mookie Betts was a last-minute scratch because of an upset stomach. With the coronavirus going around, teams cannot be too careful about limiting contact with ill players.