LAKELAND, Fla. Although locating a hard and lively fastball is the ticket the majors, the slider often determines how successful a pitcher becomes and if he stays at that level.
The slider put Max Scherzer over the top, and it's the pitch Rick Porcello needs to command consistently in order to become a rotation mainstay.
The slider provides Al Alburquerque the opportunity to become something special, and it's the pitch that helped make Justin Verlander borderline illegal.
What makes it a put-away pitch?
Its so hard to pick up the spin on it and differentiate it from the fastball, Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones said. It comes in looking like a fastball, then it changes its plane, going down and across.
Most guys fastballs are in the 90s (mph), while most guys sliders are 84 to 87 (mph). Its a hard pitch that has late movement.
Scherzer explained why it's harder to pick up than a curveball.
The flight path a curve takes is entirely different from a fastball, Scherzer said. T...