Like most pitchers, Matusz needs the command as much as the velocity

Brian Matusz is having a good start so far today in Washington. We’ll see whether that continues deep into this game, but his outing so far is very encouraging.

Some fans will say it’s because he is throwing harder today and his velocity seems up a tick or two from earlier starts.

But with Matusz it is almost never about the velocity. It’s about his excellent four-pitch assortment, commanding those pitches and keeping the hitters off balance. When he can work ahead in the count and use all his pitches, he is usually at his best.

We probably make too much about velocity.

When I covered the short season Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds several years ago and Dave Schmidt was the pitching coach, there were times when I would second guess a certain pitch a pitcher had thrown and the next day ask him about it.

He made a point with me then that sticks with me now. He said, “It’s almost never about which pitch you throw, whether it’s a fastball or slider or whatever, but where you throw that pitch.”

I think that is a very valid point and one very pertinent when it comes to a pitcher like Matusz, who does not throw in the mid-90s.

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