In six innings, JA Happ threw 75 pitches. Fifty of them were strikes. Against the Yankees.
Of the 75 pitches, 11 were sliders and three were changeups. He threw 61 four-seam fastballs.
Despite throwing 81.33 percent fastballs, Happ surrendered only two runs on four hits while walking none.
Ladies and gentlemen, that’s the mark of a talented pitcher.
When Happ pitched for the Phillies last July 4 against the Mets, we saw him throw four pitches — the fastball, changeup, slider and a curveball. He used the former three pitches evenly; Saturday, however, Happ kept pounding with the fastball, unafraid to move inside on hitters, all the while keeping the pitch low in the zone early in counts. He kept Yankee hitters off balance and had them forcing swings to the deep infield.
When a man can utilize his fastball as his only weapon, he has a heck of a fastball. Happ can tailor it to the hitter’s weakness, jamming Alex Rodriguez inside or going up top against a free swinger. It’s the kind of pitching Brett Myers masters when he’s on his game. It’s the kind of pitching that makes Ryan Madson so unhittable. When the fastball is hitting its spots, the pitcher is practically invincible.
What Happ’s start shows us is he’s a born starter — he can dictate the pace of a game and transform his game during the course of six, or seven, or more innings. Throughout his career Happ has been aggressive, and his outing Saturday was the most aggressive pitching a Phillie starter had exhibited all season.