Clay Holmes unveils nasty slider, gives Yankees a pitching boost

Yankees pitcher Clay Holmes with pitching coach Matt Blake.

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Holmes mentioned on Wednesday, prior to the Yankees’ 4-2 victory over the Mariners that the velocity of his slider is still in the range of 88-89 mph. However, he noted that it now possesses greater depth, and he has embraced this improvement and made the most of it.

Last season, Clay Holmes earned his first All-Star Game nomination on the strength of his exceptional sinker performance. Over the past six weeks, Clay Holmes has witnessed the resurgence of his signature sinker pitch. However, the Yankees‘ reliever has also successfully harnessed a new weapon in his repertoire: the slider.

Utilizing this lethal combination, Clay Holmes has demonstrated exceptional performance, boasting a remarkable 0.44 ERA in his previous 20 outings.

Clay Holmes now has a fatal arsenal

Although Clay Holmes has relied heavily on his trusty sinker, which has been highly effective this season with opponents batting just .231 and slugging .295 against it, he has also incorporated his gyro slider more frequently, alongside a larger sweeping slider, to keep hitters off balance.

Opposing batters have struggled immensely against Clay Holmes’ gyro slider, which boasts greater vertical movement compared to his sweeper slider. They have managed only a .130 batting average and a .130 slugging percentage when facing this pitch.

During the offseason, Clay Holmes made adjustments to the grip of his gyro slider, aiming to enhance its resemblance to a cutter and increase its velocity. However, he found that the modified grip for the gyro slider didn’t feel natural to him. Consequently, he decided to abandon the adjustment and revert back to his original gyro slider grip, which started to feel more comfortable again.

How effective is the new slider

Clay Holmes pitched in the ninth and contained the Mets without giving a run. The Yankees win 7-6 at Citi Field on June 13, 2023.
Twitter/ Dr.LyndaBarnes

Clay Holmes mentioned on Wednesday, prior to the Yankees’ 4-2 victory over the Mariners that the velocity of his slider is still in the range of 88-89 mph. However, he noted that it now possesses greater depth, and he has embraced this improvement and made the most of it.

Clay Holmes explained that his slider has been effective against both left-handed and right-handed hitters. He highlighted the advantage of being able to throw different variations of the slider to right-handed batters, providing them with two distinct looks. According to him, the decision to stick with the gyro slider was driven by comfort, and as he continued to work with it, he naturally gained more depth and control.

Rodon’s comeback bid on the right path

Carlos-Rodon

The day after Carlos Rodon’s first rehab start, the Yankees remained equally encouraged by the positive news and progress they witnessed.

“I’m happy the way I feel today,” Rodon said Wednesday.

Scheduled to make another start on Sunday for Double-A Somerset, Carlos Rodon demonstrated a promising performance in his three-inning outing, where he threw a total of 42 pitches.

The Yankees are taking a cautious approach in building up Carlos Rodon’s workload, ensuring that he has at least one more start after Sunday. This careful progression aims to prepare him for a potential return to the major league rotation during the initial week of July.

On Tuesday, Carlos Rodon stated that his fastball consistently ranged from 91 to 95 mph, while manager Aaron Boone mentioned that it averaged 92.5 mph.

While Carlos Rodon’s fastball averaged 95.5 mph last season, the Yankees are optimistic about his progress in regaining his velocity. They believe he is moving in the right direction to build it back up.

Boone commented that Rodon displayed good life on his fastball during the rehab start, despite not having significant velocity. Boone described the “fffft” sound that Rodon’s fastball generates as his signature characteristic. From Boone’s perspective, Rodon appeared relaxed and at ease on the mound.

Despite Giancarlo Stanton‘s absence from the lineup on Wednesday, manager Aaron Boone assured that Stanton was in good physical condition. There is a possibility that Stanton will make his first outfield start on Thursday during the series finale against the Mariners.

Boone acknowledged that Stanton is currently experiencing a challenging period where he is working to find his timing and rhythm at the plate. The manager expressed confidence that Stanton will overcome this struggle, emphasizing the need to remain patient and allow him to work through it. Boone believes that Stanton’s physical condition is favorable, suggesting that once he regains his form, he will return to his usual productive self.

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