Gorzelanny having back issues?

It was clear that Tom Gorzelanny was struggling with inconsistent command in his start on Wednesday. On numerous occasions, he was visibly frustrated as a pitch sailed wide of its intended destination. It seemed that he was having difficulty locating his fastball to right-handed batters, an observation that is confirmed by this graph (courtesy of Dan Brooks).
This is a plot of his pitches against right-handed batters on Wednesday. It is from the catcher’s perspective, with right-handed batters located on the left. The square is the strike zone of an average player. The green squares are fastballs. As you can see, the majority of his fastballs are up and away to a right-handed batter. It is not unusual for Gorzo to work away from righties, but he obviously was having trouble keeping the ball down. That tells me that he was not following through well, which could indicate that he was having issues with his back.
Gorzelanny has had sporadic back problems for much of this season, but has attempted to pitch through it. Most people expected him to battle injuries this season after being abused by Jim Tracy in 2007, but I think many of us were expecting it to be related to his arm. He has had some shoulder stiffness, but it looks like his back will be an issue as well. This could be from adjusting his delivery due to fatigue from overuse.
These graphs are from Gorzelanny’s two starts before Wednesday. As you can see, he did not seem to have an issue following through. We will have to keep an eye on his upcoming starts to see if this was just a one-time issue or the beginning of a trend.

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Posted in 2008 Pittsburgh Pirates, Tom Gorzelanny. Comments Off on Gorzelanny having back issues?
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