How simple adjustment helped Drew Pomeranz find old form, blank Dodgers


SAN FRANCISCO -- A week ago, Giants manager Bruce Bochy marveled at how a 5-0 lead turned into a 6-5 deficit in about 10 minutes at Camden Yards. In the first 10 minutes Friday night at Oracle Park, Drew Pomeranz again found himself in trouble.

Pomeranz loaded the bases ahead of lefty-killer David Freese in the first inning Friday, but he struck out Freese with a curveball and then got Corey Seager on a fastball. That was followed by two more strikeouts in the second, and one to open a clean third.

By the end of the fifth, Pomeranz had walked off with five shutout innings on his line, and possibly a fresh start. The Giants beat the Dodgers 2-1, handing Clayton Kershaw his first loss of the year. 

Pomeranz was ready to build off it, and not just because of the results. He threw two bullpen sessions between starts and before the second one he approached the club’s analytics staff and asked for info about his arm slot. The data confirmed what Pomeranz was feeling, that he was too often getting “on the side” of the ball.

“I worked real hard in moving my arm spot up a little and getting on top of the ball,” he said. “I think I’ve been on the side of it the last couple of years and this year. That makes everything flatten out.”

The results against the best team in the National League were encouraging. Pomeranz allowed just three hits, walked one and struck out seven. He got 20 called strikes and eight swinging, four apiece on his fastball and curveball. 

“I was getting some swings I haven’t gotten in a while,” he said. 

Pomeranz needed 51 pitches to get through the first two innings, but unlike some of his other starts -- most notably against the Reds and Orioles -- he dug down and found another gear. This was the second time in 11 starts with the Giants that Pomeranz didn't allow a run, and the first time since April 24 that he completed five innings. 

[RELATED: Belt shakes off Kershaw history, rallied Giants past Dodgers]

Pomeranz was coming off a May -- 22 earned runs in 10 1/3 innings -- that very nearly knocked him from the rotation. He said he thought about that over the last week, but he was given another shot and ran with it.

“We’ve all been in a situation like that where you don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “All you can do is show up every day and put your work in.” 

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