Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Lamet shows growth with fastball-slider mix

Padres rookie stung in 7th inning by 2 of 3 hits allowed to Cardinals
MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- Dinelson Lamet threw 101 pitches Wednesday night, the fifth time in a nine-start run of dominance in which he reached triple digits. But one cost him in an outing where most of the other 100 were excellent.

Stephen Piscotty's seventh-inning homer sacked Lamet with the only two runs the Padres rookie allowed in a 3-1 loss to the Cardinals at Petco Park. The pitch before, Lamet left a slider in the strike zone to Jose Martinez, who shot it into center for the Cardinals' second hit and first since the opening frame.

View Full Game Coverage

SAN DIEGO -- Dinelson Lamet threw 101 pitches Wednesday night, the fifth time in a nine-start run of dominance in which he reached triple digits. But one cost him in an outing where most of the other 100 were excellent.

Stephen Piscotty's seventh-inning homer sacked Lamet with the only two runs the Padres rookie allowed in a 3-1 loss to the Cardinals at Petco Park. The pitch before, Lamet left a slider in the strike zone to Jose Martinez, who shot it into center for the Cardinals' second hit and first since the opening frame.

View Full Game Coverage

Lamet exited after walking Greg Garcia, leaving him with a tough loss but his sixth quality start in his past nine outings. During that stretch, he has a 2.55 ERA in 53 innings with 61 strikeouts, including eight on Wednesday.

"I don't think anything has really changed as far as his recipe for success," Padres manager Andy Green said. "Command the fastball and rip the slider. Those two things played very well for him."

Video: STL@SD: Green on Lamet's strong start, 3-1 loss

None of Lamet's offerings Wednesday were changeups, a pitch he has mostly eliminated from his repertoire. He hasn't thrown it more than four times in a start since late June.

Instead, he's used a fastball with run while throwing a slider that has quickly proven to be among the best in the game.

Entering Wednesday, opponents had a .137 average against Lamet's slider, the third-lowest of any starter who has thrown at least 100 sliders. Based on Statcast™'s expected batting average, which takes a batted ball's launch angle and exit velocity into account, opponents should be hitting .125 against the pitch.

Lamet has held opposing batters to a .179 average during this nine-start stretch, allowing three or fewer hits in six of those outings.

"That was some of the better stuff we've seen this year," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "The sink he had and the hard slider and the command he had with the slider, that's one of the tougher assignments we've had."

Video: STL@SD: Lamet fans Jose Martinez in the 1st inning

Lamet even was the first Padres batter with a hit, blooping a single into right in the third. Baserunning has been a work in progress with him; he was hesitant on the bases again Wednesday.

The right-hander said he puts "the same effort" into bunting, baserunning and hitting as he does his throwing sessions, but he's clearly been more effective with the arm. This recent stretch is a sign of adjustment for Lamet, who has lowered his ERA from 6.40 to 4.32 since late July.

"From my first outing, I realized that the biggest difference between the Minor Leagues and the big leagues is the hitters here are more selective," Lamet said through a team interpreter. "Aside from that, in general, I think it's played the same."

Green said Wednesday's matchup wasn't one that necessitated Lamet's changeup, adding Lamet has several offerings he'll throw in bullpen sessions but has not introduced in games. The development of those pitches and of Lamet continue to be a bright spot in the Padres' season.

"This guy has a chance to be really, really good," Green said. "Right now, we like what he's doing with the fastball, and we like what he's doing with the slider. ... Right now, he's giving a taste of what he can do, and I think it should be exciting for Padres fans to see."

Nathan Ruiz is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego.

San Diego Padres, Dinelson Lamet