Austin Voth knows he has to find a way to put hitters away, efficiently, so he can stay on the mound longer when his turn in the rotation comes around. Voth, 28, said as much when he spoke with reporters after Monday night’s 3 2⁄3-inning, 73-pitch outing against Miami in the nation’s capital.
“I’m extremely frustrated,” Voth said, following an 11-8 loss to the Marlins.
“I know I’m capable of more. I know that there’s more in the tank. It’s just I get these at bats where I’m throwing 8-9 pitches for one batter and then get a base hit, and then I’m fighting again and give up another couple base hits, and it’s just frustrating that I can’t go deeper in games right now.”
“I’ve got to change things quick and get in a groove, but I know that I’m close,” he added.
“I just think I need to hone in on my mechanics still. I’m still tweaking them and trying to figure them out and get comfortable with something that sticks and that I’m used to. So that’s — I’m just going to keep trying to tweak and figure those out. I’ve been doing a lot of dry work on the mound, which has been helping. I think I just need a little bit more time.”
Will he get it though?
Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez said on Monday night that he planned to sit down with his struggling starter and see what was going on with Voth, and what the right-hander was thinking as far as fixes.
“I’m going to talk to him tomorrow and see what’s going on with him again, and then but he’s got to get strike one. He’s a guy that we know, he can get strike one, when he works ahead he’s really good, so we got to get him to start throwing strike one and start finishing.
“A couple times he had 0-2 counts and couldn’t finish. I think that’s just trying to be a little too cautious. When you’re 0-2 and the hitter is behind like that, for me, that’s your time to put them away. Not nibble, just go right after them and put them away.”
When the third-year skipper talked to reporters before the series opener with the Phillies last night he hadn’t yet spoken to his starter, but he said he planned to, and he seemed a little more concerned with finding a fix for Voth than finding a replacement for the Nats’ rotation.
“I’m going to sit down and talk to him and see where he’s at mentally and give him some of my thoughts, and we’ll come up with a definitive [plan],” Martinez explained.
“I can tell you now I’m not going to give up on him. I looked at some of the stuff last night that I wanted to look at, and I think he’s going away from his strength a little bit, cause he hasn’t had any success. Here’s a guy that I’ve known that used to attack the strike zone with fastballs up, down and away, yesterday he threw an excessive amount of sliders, I’ve never seen him do that before, so I’m going to talk to him about why he did that, and just tell him, ‘Hey, I want you to be Austin Voth that personally I fell in love with, and that’s attacking the zone with your fastball up, in, down, away, and then after that use your secondary pitches and see where we go from there.
“We need him. We said this coming in, he earned the right to be the fifth starter, so we’ve got to fix him, and hopefully we’ll get him going this week, and hopefully his next outing he’ll be better.”
In his last three outings, following a start against the Baltimore Orioles in which he tossed five scoreless on 73 pitches, giving up just one hit and one walk, Voth has allowed 21 hits, eight walks, and 14 earned runs in 11 2⁄3 IP (10.80 ERA), with opposing hitters putting up a .404/.500/.673 line against him in those outings.
Will Martinez and Pitching Coach Paul Menhart be able to get Voth back pitching to his strengths?
“It’s something that Paul and I talked about over his last couple starts. But like I said, he’s one of our young starters,” Martinez said.
“We want to get him right. We want him not to think so much about the second time or the third time through the order. We want him to be aggressive. I think that’s something right now, that I’m seeing a different Austin Voth go out there where he feels like the second time around he’s got to start tricking guys. He doesn’t. His stuff is good. His fastball is good.
“So let’s just continue to throw strike one, and utilize his fastball to get to his secondary pitches.”