Yankees’ pitching coach leads firefight after Montgomery jibe

John Allen
Thursday September 15, 2022

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The Yankees fielded their pitching coach Matt Blake on Tuesday to respond to allegations made by Jordan Montgomery. The left-handed pitcher now playing for the Cardinals had alleged that his former team the Yankees gave him wrong pitching advice that could ruin his career. 

Montgomery was traded to St. Louis on August 2. The deadline-day deal brought the injured outfielder Harrison Bader to New York in exchange. Bader is recovering from plantar fasciitis and yet to play for the Yankees.

On the other hand, Montgomery has been performing great for the Cardinals. In his first seven starts for St. Louis, he went 5-0 and had an ERA of 1.45.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic wrote last week that Montgomery’s comeback was due to one simple thing: his four-seam fastball.

Rosenthal stated that the pitcher used the four-seamer 8.5% of the time this season for New York. It had risen to 32% in St. Louis and gave him resurrected career.

Responding to this analysis, also admitted that his fastball was his strength and the Cardinals encourage him to pitch that. He spoke against the Yankees saying that they didn’t want him to throw fastballs and it resulted in his poor performance for New York.

In a recent episode of the “R2C2” podcast, Montgomery talked more about this point. 

“My fastball is good,” Montgomery quoted saying. According to New York post, the southpaw added, “People here trust me. The Yankees didn’t want me to throw fastballs, so I didn’t. I didn’t really have much faith in my heater at the Yankees, Montgomery said. I had been told that it wasn’t that good compared to my other pitches and if I was gonna get hit, it was gonna be on a curveball or changeup, which isn’t how you can pitch.”

The Yankees pitching coach Blake responded to Montgomery’s allegation. He told the Post on Tuesday that every team has a strategy to make the best of a player. According to him, the team tells a pitcher to do based on his ability and who is on the opposite end.  The coach also brought to attention that fastballs comprise the least of Montgomery’s pitches making what he alleged hard to believe.

According to Blake:

“Sometimes it’s dependent on who you’re facing and some teams handle four-seam [fastballs] better. … We’re gonna tell you to throw the pitches that are having the most success most of the time. … I don’t think we would change anything about how we used [Montgomery]. There’s definitely something to him being convicted to his plan and trusting the four-seamer when he throws it. But if you look at his pitches overall objectively, it’s the least of his pitches. That’s why it’s hard to validate that’s the pitch he should throw more often. … The way he’s using his four-seamer is more than we would advise him to use it.”

Montgomery may pitch against the Yankees next season if the southpaw continues with the Cardinals. St. Louis will host the Bombers at Busch Stadium on June 30 for a series of three games.

Do you agree with Blake over his Montgomery comment? Or, are the Yankees defending themselves to avoid a fan backlash?

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