Yankees’ Tommy Kahnle makes eighth inning vs. Braves an unusual instance

New York Yankees’ Tommy Kahnle pitches during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Sunday, June 23, 2024, in New York.
AP Photo/Pamela Smith

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The New York Yankees’ 3-1 defeat to the Atlanta Braves at Yankee Stadium on Sunday afternoon fails to enthuse the baseball world. However, their reliever Tommy Kahnle did something very unusual in the eighth inning that left everyone amused.

In a standout moment, Yankees’ Tommy Kahnle showcased a unique pitching strategy, an all-changeup inning. He struck out the side in his inning of work using only changeups, throwing a total of 17 pitches. All were changeups. This was notable given Tommy Kahnle’s capability to deliver fastballs in the mid-to-upper 90s.

The social media account @PitchingNinja spotlighted Tommy Kahnle’s unusual approach, underscoring his exclusive use of changeups to retire the batters.

Tommy Kahnle’s reliance on changeups against left-handed hitters Jarred Kelenic, Ozzie Albies, and Matt Olson fits within the current trend of pitchers avoiding hitters’ strengths. Nonetheless, some observers found the complete omission of fastballs to be extreme.

Tommy Kahnle’s pitch usage by year

YearFB%CH%
201468.9%17.3%
201556.1%40.7%
201673.4%16.4%
201765.8%21.8%
201854.3%40.3%
201942.5%50.9%
202029.2%54.2%
202223.0%76.4%
202321.9%75.8%

Yankees reliever Tommy Kahnle continues to refine his pitch selection, demonstrating a clear evolution in his approach on the mound. Year after year, he has shown an increasing preference for his changeup while gradually reducing his reliance on his fastball.

This deliberate shift in pitching strategy reflects Tommy Kahnle’s commitment to adapting and improving his game. The right-hander’s willingness to adjust his arsenal based on his growing confidence in certain pitches showcases a thoughtful approach to his craft.

Observers note that Tommy Kahnle’s consistent implementation of this plan provides a textbook example of a player actively working to optimize his performance. As the season progresses, fans and analysts alike will be watching to see how this ongoing adjustment impacts his effectiveness out of the bullpen.

Despite the defeat, the Yankees hold a solid 52-28 record, maintaining their lead in the American League East by 1.5 games over the Baltimore Orioles. However, the team has struggled recently, dropping seven of their last 10 games due to a grueling schedule.

The Yankees will have a break on Monday before starting a brief Subway Series against the New York Mets at Citi Field on Tuesday night. Gerrit Cole is set to make his second start of the season for the Yankees, going up against Mets left-hander David Peterson, who has a 3-0 record.

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