Let’s take a quick look at Ross Ohlendorf’s first start with the Pirates in graphical form. He came out firing, attacking the inside corner with fastballs early. He jammed several Cincinnati hitters the first time through the order, and there was some visible frustration on their faces. As this was happening, Bob Walk commented that the Reds would have to adjust and start the bat sooner. With two outs in the fourth, Joey Votto adjusted. He jumped on an inside fastball and ripped it inside the right field foul pole.
As he approached the 35-pitch mark, Ohlendorf began mixing in some off-speed offerings. He maintained a solid balance of fastballs, sliders, changeups and curveballs the rest of the way. You can clearly see the mid-game change in approach in this velocity graph.
Also, take a look at these pitch location charts (vs. right-handed batters, vs. left-handed batters). These are from the catcher/umpire perspective, and you can see that there are plenty of fastballs on the inner half of the plate.
I am a fan of the way Ohlendorf approached last night’s game. Pound them with hard stuff early, go soft later in the game. He will not be able to follow that precise pattern every game, but it is a good mentality to have on the mound.
Note: All graphs courtesy of BrooksBaseball.net