Voth seeks to fine-tune fastball glove side as he preps for Orioles

Right-hander Austin Voth was unable to set up hitters with his fastball in the spot he wanted to against the Royals last Friday night. When that happens, it has a ripple effect on Voth’s other pitches. He ended up throwing 96 pitches in only 4 1/3 innings and allowing four runs.

“I’m a little bit, a tick off, I would say,” Voth said. “Definitely with my fastball command you can notice that. Like last two games I just haven’t been able to stick those fastballs glove side, especially in this game.”

Voth-Fires-Red-at-DET-Front-Sidebar.jpgVoth mentioned this issue in his second start against Detroit June 1 - fastballs glove side - as the important pitch for him to get going. He surrendered three runs, six hits and two walks versus the Tigers, again lasting 4 1/3 innings. He threw 78 pitches in that game, much more pitch efficient. But the Kansas City game he just could not get quick outs.

“He’s having trouble hitting that spot because that’s his honey hole that he needs to hit to make the elevation and the breaking ball better,” said Nationals pitching coach Paul Menhart. “Without being able to execute that (in his last start) the pitch counts got really exaggerated and inefficient. When you have 80 pitches after four innings, (it) makes it very difficult to stay in the game.

Nationals manager Davey Martinez said Voth will start one of the two games at Baltimore July 16-17. It is an important start for the 2013 fifth-round pick as he looks to stay in the rotation with over half the season completed.

“I’ve had experience like in the past where I lose command of my fastball here and there in the game and you try and adjust,” Voth said Friday. “But it’s kind of hard to make (these) in-game adjustments, especially at this level. I tried to turn things around and try and over exaggerate throwing a fastball glove side and just try and make the most of what I had.”

Voth now has close to a week left to work on the fastball glove side. His velocity has been really good, pushing mid-90’s mph.

“He needs to fine tune that a little bit,” Menhart said. “He’s got good stuff. Just matter of being able to execute that.”

* The Nationals 8-2 record in the their last 10 games is the best in Major League Baseball. The Athletics, Yankees, Astros, Indians and Giants were all 7-3. The Phillies went 5-5 in their final 10 games before the All-Star break. But Philadelphia is 27-17 at home, which is the fourth-most wins at home in the National League. This series against the Nationals is huge coming out the break. The teams also play five times in four days in late September.

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