He is currently 4-1 with a 3.75 ERA this season and in his last three starts Nuding has allowed only four combined runs and pitched at least six innings in every outing. Some of his new found success can be credited to his improved slider, which has been a pitch he has been working on all year.
"I'm heavy with both right now," Nuding said of using both his slider and fastball for a strikeout pitch. "Since I have been throwing it consistently lately in bullpens, flat ground and game situations, it has become a pitch I can throw for strikes when I need to or as a groundball play or strikeout pitch. I would say the slider has made me more versatile."
Tampa pitching coach Jeff Ware has seen improvement in Nuding's slider this year.
"We've been trying to tighten the pitch up with him this year. We have been trying to keep the pitch velocity in the mid-80's and have some tilt on the pitch," Ware said.
"Instead of the pitch breaking on a flat plain, we are getting him to keep his arm speed, stay behind the baseball and get tilt with his quickness. That's so we don't get a slider with a hump on it, like we have seen in the past as well as earlier this year."
While Nuding has been fairly successful this season with the Tampa Yankees, he had a stretch of two starts in the beginning of May that raised a little concern.
"I just wasn't putting the ball where I needed to when I needed to," Nuding said, "and I left too many balls up in the zone and was catching too much plate."
Nuding didn't have to change anything in his mechanics to turn around this streak but said the key to his turnaround in his next three starts is himself.
"Pitching on that downhill angle, I learned from those two starts that I can't leave the ball up and over the plate," Nuding said. "I am now throwing my pitches from mid-shin to knee instead of mid-thigh to belt, which is where I was leaving the ball in those couple of starts I got banged up."
One of the other factors this season that may not show up in the stats but is just as important, is that Nuding has been able to stay healthy so far this season, which is big for a Tampa Yankees team who have had multiple players miss time to injuries.
"Yeah my body is holding up pretty well right now," Nuding said. "The key for me is knowing where your limits are on certain days because you may be able to push your body harder on a day you feel good, and on a day you may be tender or feel tight the key is to know your limit and not push the envelope, especially on days you know it doesn't count.
"It's not that you don't want to go hard but if you are sore in your arm or body, you need to know your own limit because it doesn't make sense to hurt yourself on a day that doesn't count, but I'm just happy I'm holding up pretty well right now."
Feeling and pitching well right now, Nuding feels that the one thing he can improve and hopefully will help him in his quest to move up to the next level is to work on throwing more of his changeups for strikes consistently.
"I want to throw it more so I can become comfortable with it and throw it for strikes, and I want it to be just as good as my slider and fastball in terms of a strikeout pitch," Nuding said. " I just want to work on changeup command as well as command in general with my fastball inside and out on the plate, and just overall being consistent on the mound and taking that from start to start."
Ware mirrored Nuding's feelings about where he could improve his game.
"I think it's a real big deal [the changeup]," Ware said. "Right now he has a fastball and slider, and as a starting pitcher you need at least three solid pitches and if he wants to move up to Double-A, he will have to do that.
"We have been stressing that to him during his last couple of starts and he's going to keep throwing the change more and more in his future starts," Ware concluded.
Nuding Changing It Up
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