John Flaherty on Randy Johnson. From the Daily News of Newburyport:
As Randy Johnson strolled to the mound last night, John Flaherty assumed his position.
Flaherty, who now works for the YES Network after retiring following a brief stint with the Red Sox in spring training, knows Johnson better than most. More than 30 times last season, he attempted to guide the lefty through the ups and downs of an appearance, playing part pitching coach and part psychologist along the way.
“What you’re going to want to watch for is that (Johnson’s) going to try and throw a fastball in on Kevin Youkilis that actually ends up inside and true, as opposed to running back over the plate,” said Flaherty moments before Johnson’s first pitch. “If he’s doing that, everything is going to be good, because if he’s doing that, his mechanics are right. You should also see a slider that goes down and not just a spinning one that goes across. But the first thing is a fastball that is true.”
“He’s trying to get it inside and he can’t get it there, so he pushes everything back over the plate,” said Flaherty, almost resigning himself to the fact that his former teammate has not yet figured out what at least two people in the Fenway dining area already knew. “It does a few things — obviously you see the ball earlier, and the ball doesn’t go where he wants to. He was doing it earlier last year, then he got it fixed and he really started throwing a lot better.”
“It’s a bunch of things that kind of go hand-in-hand,” he continued. “When you throw a baseball, you kind of got to have a guide as to where you want it to go. When Randy goes bad, he just drops his (right) forearm (down) and you see the ball so much earlier. So he’s throwing 92 mph, but from a hitting standpoint it looks like its 88. Whereas you have a guy who hides the ball really well, like Mike Mussina, and he’s throwing 88. But you get swings like its 93. If he can straighten out his front side, he’ll be much better.”
“He’s not showing the emotion and fire everybody is used to seeing,” said Flaherty, who later watched Johnson take 10 pitches to put away weak-hitting Sox shortstop Alex Gonzalez. “In the past, he was always very animated, which is what he was last year when he got going. It’s like the chicken and the egg — which comes first? You can act like you’re intimidating, but you have to have intimidating stuff in order to act that way.”
Can all this be as simple as getting Johnson to straighten out his front side and not drop his (right) forearm (down) when he delivers?
Man, I hope that Flash is sharing this information with the Big Unit too.