Reliever Jordan Walden tried out an old friend Monday night, “busting out” a change-up he used to throw as a starter in the minor leagues, and it baffled Nationals hitters. He recorded all three of his strikeouts on the change-up in 1 2/3 innings of scoreless work.
“When I started my closer’s role a couple years ago, I was just working on fastball-slider,” said Walden, the hard-throwing right-hander the Braves acquired from the Angels for Tommy Hanson. “(Hitters) are sitting on my fastball, attacking it, so I need to throw something that looked the same instead of my slider. It was good last night.”
Walden said the change-up is a good weapon for him to use against left-handers - all three strikeouts came against left-handed batters – but it’s also good for planting a seed.
“Just let the hitters know I have it, so it’s just something in the back of their mind,” he said.