If it seems like David Hernandez is getting better with each relief appearance, that may be the case.
Hernandez is 2-1, 2.13 with two saves in 11 relief outings. And, over his last three games, he has pitched no-hit ball over 3 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts.
Sunday, he entered the game with the Nats and blew away Josh Willingham and Roger Bernadina on eighth-inning strikeouts. He threw six pitches at these speeds: 94, 95, 95, 95, 97 and 94.
“I go out there and I don’t really feel like I’m trying to throw harder,” Hernandez said. “I do feel like I have a little more adrenaline coming out of the pen. Also, you don’t have to hold anything back because you’ll be out there for just three to six outs at the most.”
He said for him it’s a different approach than it was as a starter.
“A completely different mindset. You know you don’t have to set up hitters for the next at bat. You are only going to face them usually once. I just try to attack with my fastball and throw my slider just to keep them off the fastball. But for the most part, it’s me trying to throw my fastball to both sides of the plate.
“As a starter, you have to try and conserve some pitches for later in the game. Usually the key pitches happen later in the game. When you go out as a reliever, you don’t have to hold anything back.”
Hernandez in 2010:
As a starter: 1-5, 5.31....................27 K’s in 42 1/3 IP.....246 batting average against.
As a reliever: 2-1, 2.13, 2 saves.....15 K’s in 12 2/3 IP......196 batting average against.
Hernandez says his mechanics are more consistent when he pitches out of the stretch which he sticks to as a reliever whether anyone is on base or not. When pitching from the windup, he said he can be off balance at times.
“I’ve always felt I have a better delivery out of the stretch. When I go through the windup it is harder to repeat my delivery,” he said.