I've made a pretty dramatic change to my mechanics this season. Now, I'm going over my head and throwing from the left side of the rubber. The tinkering is designed to keep me from drifting forward. I'm trying it out and looking to roll with it.
A pitcher can change his mechanics for a number of reasons. In my case, our pitching coach, Joe Kerrigan, believes these changes will help make me more consistent. I think that's the biggest reason for the change. Consistency is something you strive for, and at the start of the season, I could feel a big difference from my first outing to my second outing.
When it comes to mechanics, you want to be comfortable out there. In this case, it hasn't been bad. You need to have good dialog with your pitching coach. You need to say if it isn't working for you or if it is working for you.
It can take awhile to get comfortable with change, but the biggest thing is believing in what you're doing.
This isn't the first time I've made this change. I tried it once before, but I didn't stick with it very long. In fact, I lasted two batters. I walked them both, and then I ended up going to my old way. But we're trying it again, and so far, so good.
The success for a pitcher, especially someone like me who doesn't throw 95 mph, is command. That's regardless of what kind of motion you go with. I have to live on the corners and by being down in the zone.
My goal is to see batters for fewer than three pitches. I want to get them out as soon as I can. The quicker they get out, the less they see of me, which works to my advantage.
When I'm on my game, quick outs are the best indicator that things are working well for me. I'm about messing with a hitter's timing. Ground balls are good, but even when guys are popping up, it shows that guys are getting out in front of me.
Getting guys off balance and getting guys to not hit the ball hard are also keys for me.
Jeff Karstens, who will try for his second win of the season on Sunday when he pitches against the Reds, joined the Pirates last July along with Ross Ohlendorf and Jose Tabata in the trade that sent Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady to the Yankees. He has a 5.40 ERA over his first three starts in 2009.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.