Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Dylan Floro showed a new side of himself on Friday.
By the time Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Dylan Floro entered the game on Friday night, you might have moved onto doing something else. The Dodgers were up 9-1 on a putrid Giants lineup that might not score ten runs over the first week of the season.
However, if you were watching, the veteran righty did something very interesting in recording the final three outs of the game: he used his changeup. A lot. And he looked dominant against left-handed hitters.
Throwing only 11 pitches to record two strike outs and a groundout back to the mound, Floro tossed 7 changeups.
Why is this noteworthy? Last season, he only threw 28 changeups over the entire season (729 pitches). And he got rocked on those offerings, with opponents turning six of them into base hits.
Why did Dylan Floro throw so many changeups against the Giants?
Facing a switch-hitter in Pablo Sandoval, followed by two lefties in Alex Dickerson and Joe McCarthy, Floro relied on his changeup to keep them off balance. He got three swinging strikes, one called strike, and one foul ball. The Giants couldn’t square up against the offspeed pitch that had some serious arm-side movement.
Watch this sequence against McCarthy. On a 1-1 count, Floro gets him to swing and miss on an 85 MPH changeup that ends up just outside of the strike zone.
Ahead in the count 1-2, he goes back to his changeup, but this time with a little added speed. This was the “fastest” changeup he threw on the night. Once again, the ball appears to be moving toward the outer half of the strike zone (pitcher’s view), only to run off the plate
If Floro can turn his changeup into a reliable offering, it could make him a very intriguing option out of the bullpen as a right-hander who can get both righties and lefties out. His sinker reaches the mid-90s with similar movement, which helps set up his offspeed pitch.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will be limited in using lefty specialists this season due to the three batter minimum rule, which could give Floro more opportunities out of the ‘pen.
Last season, the 29-year-old struggled against lefties, with opponents slashing .339/.426/.508 against him. Conversely, he kept right-handers in check with a meager .211/.252/.309 slash line.
It will be interesting to see if Floro can build off his performance agains the Giants in using his changeup as an effective offset to left-handed hitters. Remember this seemingly meaningless 9th inning against the Giants as the first sign of something good.