Josh Rogers talked after facing the Pittsburgh Pirates last weekend on the road in PNC Park about needing to find his slider, after searching for it in his first two starts for the Nationals.
Called up from Triple-A Rochester earlier this month, after signing with Washington in June, Rogers said he didn’t have a feel for the pitch.
“Slider was just hard to find all night,” he said after throwing 63% fastballs, 26% sliders, and 11% changeups in the outing.
“I got to find that slider, it’s been pretty non-existent the last two times out, so if we can get that going, hopefully we’ve got room to improve,” Rogers added.
As for a plan to work on it? Rogers said he might just ask noted slider-thrower and rotation mate Patrick Corbin for some help with the pitch.
“Hopefully talk to Pat a little bit,” Rogers said. “He’s got one of the best in the game, so just continue to work on it. It’s kind of been hit and miss all year, I think I’m just trying to do too much with it, just pressing a little bit, trying to make it so good, to swing and miss instead of just kind of relaxing and just executing the pitch.
“Some minor adjustments hopefully and can see some results here soon.”
Rogers threw his slider 21 times against the Pirates, got nine swings on the pitch, one whiff, and three called strikes.
On Wednesday afternoon against the Miami Marlins, Rogers threw it for 27 of his 73 pitches (37%), generating 11 swings, five swinging strikes, and six called strikes with the slider.
“He liked his slider and his slider was working really well,” Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez said after an 8-6 loss in which Rogers threw five scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a run, while striking out six.
“Got the slider going today early,” the 27-year-old southpaw said. “Felt really good, and just tried to attack the zone and just turn over the lineup and get us back into the dugout to hit. So, felt pretty good today.”
As for the adjustments he made that led to the improvement with his slider?
“Well, to be honest, I just grabbed — Corbin showed me his grip, what he uses for his slider,” Rogers said, “... and I just — literally I’ve never tried it before, and I just said I’m going to take a risk and try it today, and it was pretty good, so it worked out.
“Didn’t have as great of a feel for it, like throwing it for strikes, but just like I said, took a chance with it and got some swings early and felt good about it.”