Long's Intimidation Stems from Results

By: Tristan Hobbes - CCBL Intern
06/24/2010 4:07 PM - ORLEANS ---- Orleans Firebirds left-hander  Kenny Long (Illinois State) will not intimidate anyone with his presence on the mound. Neither will any of his pitches.

     Long doesn’t possess the normal pedigree of most Cape League relievers; a mid-90s fastball and a solid second pitch. Instead, he features a seldom-used fastball that hits a mere 84 and an array of off-speed pitches thrown from various angles.

     “He throws pooh, and he throws slop and he throws strikes,” Orleans field manager Kelly Nicholson told the Cape Cod Times after two perfect innings from Long against Cotuit last Friday.

     Nicholson speaks from experience.

     “I can say that because I was a pooh-slinger myself. If I was breaking 80, I was throwing the ball firm that day,” he said.

     While the comments may appear disparaging, they are compliments to what Long has been able to achieve with the pitches he throws. Not one pitch in his outing against Cotuit topped 75, but he was able to strike out four straight batters.

     “I thought it was pretty funny,” Long said about his coach’s comments. “It’s the reaction I get from most people when they see me throw. I take it as a compliment. As long as I keep getting outs with it, they can’t keep dismissing me.”

     Long stands just 6-0 and weighs 150, and is the dictionary definition of a crafty lefty. He throws from a three-quarter arm slot and can also come over the top to mix up the eyesight of the batters. And while he features a fastball, he relies heavily on a sweeping curve that he calls a “frisbee” and a mixture of breaking pitches that range from 69 to 75 mph.

     “He doesn’t throw the ball straight,” Nicholson said. “Most of the guys you see are 89-93 and occasionally a guy 95-plus. Hitting is timing, and all we’re trying to do on the mound is disrupt that timing. He has done a great job of disrupting it so far.”

     While it may be difficult to hit, the thought process for Long is pretty simple.

     “I only know how to pitch one way and that’s off-speed, off-speed, off-speed,” he said. “I can probably count on my fingers and toes how many fastballs I threw (this spring).”

     This spring at Illinois State, Long picked up nine saves and finished third in the nation with a 1.38 ERA in 65.1 innings. Opposing batters hit just .180 against the lefty. This summer, he has started out equally impressive with a 1-1 record, one save and a 1.42 ERA in 6.1 innings. In his last three outings. he has struck out 11 of 23 batters.

     Surprisingly, this is just the first full year Long has been pitching from the three-quarter arm angle. He picked it up last fall during practice and has developed himself into a shutdown reliever.

     “It’s worked for me all year,” he said. “The first couple outings it took a bit to get used to. It really caught on quick after that.”

     The change of pace might be exactly what the doctor ordered for the Firebirds. The Orleans staff features several starters and relievers that can top out in the low to mid-90’s. This means that opposing teams will have to adjust from a 94 mph fastball to a breaking ball in the low-70s.

     The game plan has worked so far as the left-hander has continued to perfect his craft on the Cape.




Search Archive »

RSS

Browse by Year »
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
0

Browse by Month »
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
December 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
August 2003
July 2003
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
November 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000