Diamondbacks’ Jordan Montgomery recuciates slider to surprise Reds

May 14, 2024, 4:18 PM

Starter Jordan Montgomery...

Starter Jordan Montgomery #52 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning at Chase Field on May 13, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks starter Jordan Montgomery readied a surprise pitch for the Cincinnati Reds on Monday after having faced their lineup less than a week earlier.

Montgomery dusted off his slider, a pitch he had not used in a game for years since his days with the New York Yankees. In the second inning, the southpaw ripped a slider that dropped below the zone to strike out left-handed hitter Mike Ford swinging.

“I threw four to lefties today, trying to sprinkle it in there give a little different look,” Montgomery said after a 6-5 walk-off win. “I haven’t thrown a slider since 2017, I’d say.”

So why did he bring it back?

“I’ve been working on it since 2017,” Montgomery said with a smile. “And (Brent Strom) said it’s good, so I wanted to throw it in there.”

He struck out Ford a second time, getting him to whiff through two straight sliders in the fourth inning.

The veteran leans sinker-changeup-curveball, throwing in four-seamers and the occasional cutter. So the slider came out of left field from the outside looking in.

It is still a work in progress, he expressed, but a potential wipeout pitch during left-on-left at-bats if he can get more comfortable using it.

“After a good one to (Ford) and then I gave him two hangers the next at-bat and luckily he missed them,” Montgomery said. “It’s still a work in progress. But it’s good to get it out in the game.”

Montgomery got 17 whiffs in total, although manager Torey Lovullo described his outing as a fistfight. The lefty was two outs away from a quality start but allowed three straight hits in the sixth inning to end his day. He finished with 5.1 innings, three earned runs and seven strikeouts, his most Ks since joining the Diamondbacks.

He is now five starts in after signing a $25 million deal at the start of the season and missing spring training.

Montgomery (4.76 ERA) has mostly lived up to his billing as a solid starter who will go deep into games and avoid hard contact, minus a six-run outing against the Dodgers that spikes his ERA. But he continues to sharpen up even the pitches that have been calling cards over the years.

“I was maybe executing some more four-seamers in and I’ve been really focusing on curveball spin. So, I’m just trying to throw it a little harder and get it back to what it was last year,” Montgomery said. “Hopefully it’s close.”

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